Joseph Hirt (1879-1943) was born in New York City in 1879. By the time he was 21, in 1900, he was already working as a pen and ink artist, and in a few short years he would create some of his most iconic works of sheet music cover art, including the cover of Kerry Mills' Red Wing, as well as Manuel Klein's Lucia, (the latter of which will be available for purchase in the not-too-distant future.) The companies he worked for allowed him to place his signature on his pieces, which was a privilege they reserved for only the most talented of sheet music artists.
Around 1912, he made the transition from sheet music art to commercial art, and six years later became the manager of the Morgan Lithography Company, one of New York's biggest commercial art firms. He would continue his career in commercial art into the 1930s. He retired from commercial art in the same decade, taking up oil painting, which he would continue until his death in Manhattan in 1943. (Source: ragpiano.com)