Lithograph "Music" Signed Hirsch's

Joseph Hirsch
Item number: PYH 5237

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 pencil signed "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)."


PYH 5237

Leonard Pytlak (1910-1998), a New York City artist born in New Jersey, was a prominent and influential printmaker. Initially, he was exclusively a lithographer, but in 1940 he started experimenting with the new medium of serigraph art, aka silkscreen printing. He was one of the first artists included in the silkscreen division of the New York Federal Arts Project and he was invited that year to show his works in two MoMa exhibits. He was also a registered artist with the WPA and created many beautiful murals. We've included a black and white photo of the artist.

Pytlak founded the National Serigraph Society and was elected a Guggenheim Fellow in 1941. His silkscreen and lithographs were also exhibited at the Library of Congress and the National Academy of Design, among other well-known institutions. His artworks are included in such major collections as the Brooklyn Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the British Museum, the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

This vivid original silkscreen is titled "Greenhouse;" it depicts a young man holding a potted plant in his arms, peering out from behind a lush, huge anthurium in a very full greenhouse. It is signed in the screen "PYTLAK" on the lower right, nestled in the foliage. The sight size measures 15 1/2 by 11 1/2 inches and is under glass. The print is in excellent condition, with a small, dark mark in the lower right corner the only flaw we could find (it's most easily seen in the photograph of the signature).

The narrow, 7/8 inch wide wood frame is original; it is painted white and has a gilded, beaded inner edge and a gilded outer edge. There is a chip on the bottom of the lower corner (shown) and a small amount of wear on the gold edge. It's backed with corrugated cardboard and finishing nails with a thin wire for hanging; the weight is 2 pounds, 2 ounces. We have left it as found, but we highly recommend archival materials to replace the backing.

This is an exceptional serigraph by an exceptional artist.


PYH 5248