Joseph Hirsch was a painter, muralist, illustrator, and printmaker who was born and educated in Philadelphia. He attended the School of Industrial Art between 1928 and 1931, and in 1932, went to New York to study with George Luks.
He completed several murals in Philadelphia including "Football," "Integration," "Beginnings of Early Unionism," and "Adoption." As a pictorial war correspondent during World War II, Hirsch made about seventy-five paintings and drawings between 1943 and 1944 in the South Pacific, Africa, and Italy. Hirsch once said that he wanted his work to reveal his beliefs but never turned to propaganda, as so many artists of his time. He did, however portray people as heroes in a deeply humanistic, positive manner, using an almost caricature-like exaggeration, especially in early canvasses such as "Two Men."
Although Social Realist painter often used specific themes, there wasn't a specific style that all the painters followed (except realism). In his mature period, the 1960's and 1970's (the time period of the paintings he did for the Bureau of Reclamation), Hirsch used a series of layered planes to compose the painting. Often, there are a series of two-dimensional zones in which the figures reside. Typically these planes are frontally oriented towards the viewer of the painting. Depth is suggested by layering of planes and the figures contained within, rather than through perspective. These paintings appear to be snapshots, capturing people in mid-action, not posing. While Hirsch's paintings are social commentary, he was careful that the viewer had to figure out the message. There are a multitude of readings, depending on the viewer.
With classic techniques, he explored prosaic subject matter ranging in theme from washing windows to leading invocations, sometimes with mocking overtones. He has also represented various generalized kinds of human action through the use of monumental human forms.
Available works by: Joseph Hirsch American (1910 - 1981)
Joseph Hirsch was an American painter, illustrator, muralist and teacher. Social commentary was the backbone of Hirsch's art, especially works depicting civic corruption and racial injustice.
The SurvivorMedium: Lithograph Year: 1954 Edition : 250 Signature: Signed in pencil Publisher: Associated American Artists References: Cole 30 Size: 9 x 14-1/2 inches Stock Number: 46950c Price: $650.00
Joseph Hirsch American (1910 - 1981)
Nude with NecklaceMedium: Lithograph, sepia Edition : 14/100 Signature: Signed in pencil Size: 11 x 15 1/2 inches Description: Taking his cue from the western art historical canon’s long legacy of the female nude, Hirsch poses his model in the traditional reclining pose. She is beautiful, voluptuous and dons only a few bits of jewelry, a method used to heighten her eroticism. But from here she departs from the stereotype with her direct and knowing stare. She engages the viewer (or perhaps her customer?) directly and with no small amount of frankness. Leaving nothing up for debate, she points between her thighs confirming that she has control over herself and the situation at hand. Stock Number: 29220c Price: $800.00
Joseph Hirsch (1910 - 1981)
Hands at RestSeries: Couples Portfolio Medium: Lithograph Year: 1969 Edition : A.P. (regular edition 160) Signature: Signed Size: 8-3/4 x 13-1/2 inches Stock Number: 31893c Price: $950.00
Joseph Hirsch American (1910–1981)
HecklersMedium: Lithograph Signature: Signed in pencil Size: 9-3/4 x 15-1/4 inches Stock Number: 43527c Price: $750.00