Born Robert Hirsch in Frankfurt, the "von" in his name was bestowed by the Grand Duke of Hesse. The Hirsch leather firm was highly successful, allowing Richard and his brother, Robert, to begin their collecting activities in the realm of rare books. After meeting George Swarzenski, then newly appointed as director of the Städelsche Kunstinstitut, the young businessman Hirsch expanded his collecting activities to include paintings. In 1925 Hirschl lent twelve important paintings to an exhibition in Frankfurt; by 1930 he was appointed as an administrator at the Kunstinstitut. Due to the political climate in Germany, Hirsch exiled himself, his family, business interests, and art collection to Switzerland in early 1933, and he remained there for the rest of his life.
"Die Sammlung Robert von Hirsch." Du 5 (May 1978):24-73.
Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Robert von Hirsch. Exh. Cat. Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt; Kunsthaus Zürich; Royal Academy, London, 1978.