Realist painter whose work was often socially oriented and imbued with humanism. During World War II, he served as an artist-correspondent for the U.S. government.
Joseph Hirsch "scribbled more than the average" when he was a boy and later remembered that his mother often gave him a sketchbook to pass the time. He won a scholarship to art school when he was seventeen and a few years later was one of the youngest painters to receive the Walter Lippincott Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Hirsch worked as an artist-correspondent during World War II, sketching planes and hospitals throughout the Pacific. His monumental images celebrate ordinary people and situations, reflecting his belief that "any painting that has to do with life is a commemoration."