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Al Hirschfeld Foundation Regains Complete Control of Legendary Artist's Work

The foundation had been part of lengthy court battle against its former gallery.

Al Hirschfeld's 1969 drawing of 1776.
(© The Al Hirschfeld Foundation)

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation has regained complete control of the legendary artist's work after a multi-year court case.

The not-for-profit organization, established in 2004 by Hirschfeld's will, filed suit against the New York-based Margo Feiden Galleries in 2016, accusing them of flooding the market with unauthorized reproductions of Hirschfeld's work. They had sold his drawings for more than four decades.

The United States District Court, Southern District of New York, awarded the Foundation a total of $452,767.62 in damages after finding that the gallery breached its September 2000 agreement. The court found that the galleries made unauthorized copies, failed to account for 27 original drawings, and failed to report or pay the Foundation for a number of sales.

In the initial complaint, the Foundation said it never approved for certain reproductions of Hirschfeld's work, as well as accused them of selling print-on-demand giclées. The Foundation's relationship with the Margo Feiden Galleries is now 100% terminated. The gallery was also sanctioned by the court.

Hirschfeld, the beloved Broadway caricaturist, died at the age of 99 in 2003. His signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, appeared in virtually every major publication of the last nine decades, as well as numerous book and record covers, and 15 postage stamps.