Untitled Document

Artist Biography

 Her first name was actually Caludine, but she went by Claude and exhibited as C.R. Hirst to conceal her gender from biased juries. Hirst became the first major American female trompe l'oeil painter. She began her career in the 1880s as a traditional still-life painter of flowers and fruit working in both oils and watercolors. She became aquatinted with William Michael Harnett, whose style and subject matter influenced her painting so much that she was dubbed "the female Harnett." The two artists had neighboring studios on Fourteenth Street in New York City in the late 1880s, and often exhibited similar titles and subjects such as still lifes of books, pipes, and flowers.

Hirst studied art at the Cincinnati Art Academy before moving to New York City where she became the only woman artist in Harnett's circle of painting, and after 1905 was the only one of the group to paint primarily in watercolor. Hirst exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design, National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, where she was awarded prizes in 1922, 1927, and 1931; and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.