The Nina mystery

July 11, 1957
Los Angeles

Here’s a vintage Al Hirschfeld drawing done for “The Pride and the Passion,” starring Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren and Cary Grant. Hirschfeld is famous not only for being a fabulous artist but for hiding the name of his daughter Nina (born in 1945) in his drawings. In later years, he placed a number next to his name so people would know how many “Ninas” there were, but since this is an earlier drawing, there’s no number to guide us.

There is at least one “Nina” in this picture, but it’s reversed. The question is whether Hirschfeld flopped the artwork before adding his name or hid the “Ninas” as mirror images. (This is the only flopped “Nina” I have ever seen).

The original

The closeup

The closeup flopped

And the original flopped.

Was Hirschfeld saying that Frank Sinatra had something up his sleeve? I wish we could ask him. Note that the caption doesn’t even identify Hirschfeld but refers to him as “the artist.”

See any more? Let me know.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in art and artists, Film and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Nina mystery

  1. Pierre Loubert says:

    It’s not a mystery, Nina is the artist’s daughter, and every time he drew a picture, he would place her name in the artwork as a game for her. She would then have to find her name in the picture!
    I remember this because when I was a child my step-father showed me a book of Hirschfeld’s artwork and he told me of this game that the artist played with his daughter. It must also be explained in this book. You can probably look this up and confirm my recollections.
    –Yes, that’s a familiar story. The mystery in this picture, however, is why her name is flopped. That is, a mirror image.
    –Thanks for reading.


  2. David Arnold says:

    I was wondering if you know of a compilation book of Al Hirschfeld’s art with the Nina’s?
    Thank you,


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