Sue Hirtzel was born in Buffalo, New York in 1945 where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Daemen College and attended the State University of New York. She later completed her Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
Hirtzel's work has appeared in international invitational exhibitions at museums and universities, notably the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, and the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has also shown widely throughout Michigan and the Midwest, including group exhibitions at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hirtzel's prints have appeared in several national publications. In 1981, one of her cliché-verre prints was reproduced in both ARTnews and Life Library of Photography: The Print by Time-Life Books.
Hirtzel works primarily with drawings and prints characterized by subtle structural tensions. The condensed images have an elusive quality as color, shape and pattern shift through expansive spaces. Her formal concerns are complemented by personal interests in metaphysics, music and contemporary science. Often, her work extends into nontraditional processes such as cliché-verre, photocopying and computer graphics.
Hirtzel has been active as a teacher at Wayne State University and as a lecturer. Having used cliché-verre extensively since 1972, she has led numerous workshops on this medium at universities, museums and art conferences in Michigan, Ohio and New York. Hirtzel was an adviser, as well as an exhibitor, for the major 1980 exhibition "Cliché-verre: Hand-Drawn, Light-Printed" at the Detroit Institute of Arts.