Joseph Hirsch (1910–1981) was an American painter and illustrator from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This lithograph titled 'Music' was published in 1951 in a limited edition of 250 by Associated American Artists. Hirsch produced dozens of lithographs including this grayscale portrait of a man with his harmonica to his lips. Hirsch's works are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and many other museums.
We were pleased to purchase an original 1970 catalogue raisonné that is the standard reference for Joseph Hirsch's works. The title is "The Graphic Work of Joseph Hirsch," the author Sylvan Cole, Jr. It is the first edition, with errata and signed by Joseph Hirsch on the title page. It also includes the price list from the 1970 retrospective of his complete works by Associated American Artists. This lithograph's number in the catalogue is 22 (price then for the print was $120.00); we'll include this book with the artwork.
Associated American Artists (AAA) was an art gallery in New York City that was established in 1934 to market art "for the people" not just for the wealthy. Ironically, considering its "market to the masses" philosophy, many early AAA prints which originally sold for $5 are sold to art collectors for hundreds and even thousands of dollars today. The information sheet on the back of the print was obviously printed while Hirsch was still alive and contains more information about him at that time.
The print is signed in pencil "Joseph Hirsch" lower right. The frame is wood, approximately 15 by 13 inches. It was given a beautiful coppery, distressed finish, with the inner filet of antiqued gold separated from the outer frame by rusty orange colored velvet. The colors and finishes provide an eye-catching surround for this lithograph. The sight size of the print is 10 inches by 8 inches and the piece weighs 2 1/2 pounds. There is a hanging wire installed on the back; the frame, the print and the glass are all in excellent condition. It's handsome alone and the perfect size for a grouping, also.
A note from the catalogue about this print: ""Larry Adler (a harmonica virtuoso) pointed out to the artist that this picture showed a man cleaning his harmonica (the instrument is being held in reverse)."