Irwin D. Hoffman

American , 1901 - 1989

Irwin Hoffmann was born in East Boston in 1901, one of four children of Russian immigrant parents. At the age of fifteen, Hoffmann enrolled as a special student at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. Upon graduating from high school, he attended as a full-time student on full scholarship.

Hoffmann had his first solo show at the age of nineteen at Boston’s Grace Horne Galleries. The press referred to him as, “a prodigy portraiture”. In 1924, he received The Paige Traveling Scholarship, enabling him to travel abroad with fellow award recipients. After his travels in Europe, he returned to the United States and established himself in a studio in New York City, which he maintained until his death in 1989.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Hoffmann traveled with his brothers who owned a mining company. Their travels took them to Puerto Rico, Mexico and the southwestern United States and Hoffmann’s works from this period reflect these travels. Best known as a talented portrait artist, Hoffmann later became a skilled etcher of gritty genre scenes.
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