William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke have noted that Claudine Raguet Hirst was the "one important woman member [of the Harnett school]" (William H. Gerdts and Russell Burke, American Still Life Painting, New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971, p. 145). From 1886 to 1889, Harnett had a studio in Manhattan at 28 East 14th Street, a few doors down from Hirst's studio. It has frequently been speculated that Hirst met Harnett while Harnett was residing in New York and that the association led Hirst to emulate the artist's "bachelor still lifes." The artist recounted that she initially became inspired to paint "bachelor still lifes" while her future husband, the landscape painter William C. Fitler, was sharing her Manhattan studio ("A Pipe That Brought Fame," The New York Times, 4 June 1922, p. 6). After their marriage, Hirst and Fitler made their home on West 11th street in Greenwich Village and the artist regularly rummaged through the area's antique shops for objects to include in her pictures.
During Hirst's long career she exhibited still lifes at the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Brooklyn Art Association and was a member of the National Association of Women Artists and the New York Water Color Club. While living in Cincinnati the artist exhibited under the name C. R. Hirst. After arriving in New York she exhibited as Claude Raguet Hirst in order to better conceal her gender.