As Charleston’s premier sculptor of the twentieth century, this exhibition will examine the body of work Willard Hirsch (1905–1982) developed over the course of his fifty-year career. A native of Charleston, Hirsch trained at the National Academy of Design and the Beaux Arts Institute in the 1930s. He returned to Charleston after serving in the military during WWII and established a studio where he welcomed sculptural commissions from private collectors and public institutions. He worked in a variety of media, ranging from terracotta and plaster, to wood and metal. Over the course of his career, Hirsch exhibited his work at the National Academy of Design, National Sculpture Society, Whitney Museum of American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and in numerous galleries and museums in the Southeast.
Some of Hirsch’s best known work is on permanent exhibition in Charleston’s public parks, including bronze sculptures in Washington Square Park, White Point Garden, the Gibbes Museum of Art garden, and Charles Towne Landing. During the exhibition, the Gibbes will distribute a guide of Hirsch’s sculptures on view throughout Charleston. An accompanying cell phone audio tour will also be produced so that art lovers can tour Hirsch’s work inside and outside of the museum.
A companion catalog, “Art is a Powerful Language” Willard Hirsch: The Man, The Artist—compiled by Jane Hirsch with photography by Douglas M. Pinkerton and edited by Amy Fluet—is scheduled to be published by Home House Press in September 2012. In conjunction with the Gibbes exhibition, the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library will offer an exhibition of artifacts, photographs, and manuscript materials relating to the artist and his family. The College of Charleston exhibit will be on display on the third floor of the library from September 21 to December 21, 2012. For more information, contact the Addlestone Library at (843) 953-5530.
Willard Hirsch: Charleston’s Sculptor is sponsored by the member auxiliary group Gibbes, etc.