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Masseur Tom

Hirsch, Joseph

Masseur Tom

oil on canvas

1999 Purchase funded by The Collectors Club

Joseph Hirsch's powerful paintings made him a leader among twentieth century social realists. Inspiration for his art came from ordinary people and events. Many of Hirsch's paintings were indictments against social cruelty and corruption.

Born in Philadelphia, Hirsch's artistic talent was recognized at an early age. In 1932 he studied with George Luks, a member of "The Eight" or Ashcan School -- a group of realist artists who focused on the mundane aspects of daily life. Hirsch said he acquired his brisk painting style, use of color and accurate draftsmanship from Luks. Shortly after Luks died in 1933, Hirsch painted "Masseur Tom" which brought him national attention.