Claude Raguet Hirst (1855-1942)

  • Claude Raguet Hirst (1855-1942)
  • Still-Life of Books, a Candlestick and Glasses
  • Oil on canvas
  • 12 1/8 x 18 1/4 inches
  • Signed lower right

Claude Raguet Hirst was the only American woman noted for painting hyperrealistic still lifes at the turn of the 20th century.Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Claudine Hirst studied at the University of Cincinnati School of Drawing and Painting. She adopted the masculine version of her name in the early 1870s as she began exhibiting. Moving to New York City in 1879, Hirst studied privately and built her reputation as a skillful painter of fruit and floral still lifes. She proved particularly skilled with watercolor.

Abruptly in 1890, Hirst began portraying objects associated with male pastimes. She also adopted the illusionistic technique called trompe-l’oeil (French for “deceives the eye”). Such subject matter and technique had long been the focus of male artists like William M. Harnett and John F. Peto. But whereas Harnett and Peto celebrated activities like hunting and pipe-smoking, Hirst critiqued masculine culture.

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Claude Raguet Hirst Still-Life of Books, a Candlestick and Glasses Cropped
Claude Raguet Hirst Still-Life of Books, a Candlestick and Glasses Cropped