Willard Hirsch, South Carolina Sculptor

Willard Hirsch was born in 1905 and died in 1982, living most of his life in Charleston. After attending the High School of Charleston and the College of Charleston, he received formal artistic training in New York at the National Academy of Design, and also took classes at the Beaux Arts Institute. He returned to South Carolina when drafted into army service at Fort Jackson in 1942. Upon discharge, Hirsch moved back to Charleston to work as a sculptor. He exhibited in group and solo shows, while working and teaching children and adults in his studios at 17 Exchange Street and 2 Queen Street. He also gave classes through the Carolina Art Association, the Charleston Art School which he founded along with William Halsey and Corrie McCallum, and at area colleges, including classes through the University of South Carolina.

Hirsch worked primarily in wood, metal, and clay, and was influenced by biblical themes, nature, and folklore. He had a particular gift for portraiture, and was drawn to mothers and children, as well as objects of whimsy. His works are present in private collections, and at institutions in New York, Maryland, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Most of his public work however, is in the heart of Charleston. On the map below, you will find sites representing either a location where Hirsch's work can be viewed, or another site related to his life. Please note that some of the sites below are synagogues, schools, or other privately owned buildings and permission may be required to view the piece described.


For those interested in reading more about Willard Hirsch and Charleston's art scene in the 20th century, please consult the following sources:

Hirsch, Willard Newman. "Willard Newman Hirsch papers, 1911-2010." Jewish Heritage College, Special Collections, College of Charleston.

Hirsch, Jane, Comp. Art is a Powerful Language: Willard Hirsch: The Man, the Artist. Charleston, SC: Home House Press, 2012.

Hutchisson, James M., and Harlan Greene, Eds. Renaissance in Charleston: Art and Life in the Carolina Low Country, 1900-1940. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2003.

Severens, Martha R.The Charleston Renaissance. Spartanburg, SC: Saraland Press, 1998.

Willard Hirsch's papers are archived at Special Collections, Addlestone Library, at the College of Charleston, and are open for research.

Here are some of the locations of Willard Hirsch's sculptures.

Sculpture of Willard Hirsch
Project Author: Jessica Epstein
Technology Coordinator: Heather Gilbert

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