Herman Perlman, 91, a noted artist whose glassworks are on display at area government buildings, synagogues, universities and hospitals, died of pneumonia Sept. 9 at Suburban Hospital. He lived in Rockville.
Over the years, he had been an artist for The Washington Post, where he did caricatures of political and show business personalities in the 1920s and 1930s, and had worked briefly for Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, and Max Fleischer, the creator of Popeye the Sailor Man. He also helped artistically refurbish five bathtubs in the Truman White House before becoming renown through the Washington area and beyond for his work in glass.
He started working in glass in 1949, creating a wide variety of works that were seen in some of the Washington area's most prominent public and private institutions.
He created the giant glass seal of President James Madison that was displayed in the headquarters of the old Madison National Bank in Washington, did a series of works for Georgetown's Rive Gauche restaurant, designed door panels for Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg and put the name of 11,000 Virginians killed in World War II and the Korean War on the glass and marble columns of the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
Many of Mr. Perlman's works have a religious or historical theme and can be found in area galleries and government buildings and in more than 100 synagogues across the country.
He did murals for Howard University and a memorial wall for the Washington Hebrew Congregation. He also designed a holy ark for the chapel at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, fashioned doors for the Renwick Gallery and created frosted-glass interior doorways for Blair House. He worked on church windows and on glass sculptures for the Federal Reserve Board and the National War College.
In the mid-1960s, he created a series of glassworks that were exhibited at the B'nai B'rith's Klutznick Museum. The works depicted Abraham Lincoln and historic personalities from Jewish history.
Mr. Perlman was born to Jewish parents in Poland and lived in Kiev before coming to the United States in 1914. He lived in Columbus, Ohio, before coming to Washington in 1924. He studied commercial art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and attended the Corcoran Art School.
He joined The Post in 1927 as a photo-retoucher at a weekly salary of $15 and worked for the paper off and on for the next decade. His caricatures of entertainers were so distinctive and became so popular that studios in New York and Hollywood hired him to produce cartoons of the stars to be used in advertising campaigns.
In the 1980s, the National Portrait Gallery put on a show called "Like and Unlike: Portrait Caricatures by Henry Major and Herman Perlman." A critic, writing in The Post, described how Mr. Perlman used simple outlines in India ink and ballpoint pen and "used the line of the whole body, interpreted in geometrically. He squared off shoulders or curved into an S the subject's spine or shoes."
His wife, Sara, died in 1979.
Survivors include a son, Marvin, of Potomac; a daughter, Shirley Pollin of Kensington; two sisters, Bertha Pincus of New Jersey and Rose Seiderman of Florida; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.