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 Irwin D. Hoffman  (1901 - 1989)

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: portrait, figure and landscape painting, sculpture, lithography

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Irwin D Hoffman
An example of work by Irwin D. Hoffman
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Williams American Art Galleries:
Irwin D. Hoffman, painter, etcher, sculptor and lithographer was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1901.   He was one of four sons belonging to a set of Russian immigrants.  Irwin stood out at an early age as being gifted artistically and at the age of fifteen he was enrolled as a special student and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School.

Upon graduation Hoffman became a full-time student on full scholarship, and it was then, at the age of nineteen that he had his first solo show at Grace Horne Galleries in Boston.  That exhibition was a huge success and the young artist was referred to as “a prodigy in portraiture” by the press.  In 1924 Hoffman received the most prestigious award given by the Boston Museum School, the Paige Traveling Scholarship.  The scholarship allowed him to travel abroad, studying and painting all across Europe. It was then that he not only came face to face with the traditions that he had learned in school, but perhaps more importantly, became aware of the modern trends that were sweeping the European art scene at the time.

After completing his studies overseas (he also visited Russia in 1929), Hoffman set up a studio in New York City, which he maintained until his death.  The city was his base from which to work, but his love for new experiences caused him to often tag along with his brothers. Hoffman’s brothers owned a mining company and prospected in the southwest, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  The artist in Hoffman was heavily influenced by the people of the small villages that he visited while with his brothers’ mining company.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts School with Philip Hale           
Abroad in Europe                       
Society of American Graphic Artists                   
Society of Independent Artists                   
Associated American Artists                   
Society of American Etchers                   
Print Club of Albany                       
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri               
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Oklahoma               
Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut                
The Washington County Museum of the Fine Arts, Maryland           
St. Joseph College Art Gallery, Connecticut               
Kansas City Art Institute                       
Colorado School, Golden, (mines mural)               
Boston Museum of Fine Arts                   
Library of Congress                       
Los Angeles County Museum of Art                   
Butler Institute of American Art, Ohio           
Georgia Museum of Art                       
Museum of Art &Archaeology, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia           
Print Club of Albany

Pennell purchase prize, Library of Congress, 1938-1940
John Taylor Arms Award, 1938
Paige Traveling Scholarship, Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, 1924   
Society of American Graphic Artists, 1924, 1928       
Mrs. Henry Noys Prize for Etching       

Grace Horne Galleries, Boston, 1927 (solo)
New School of Social Research, New York City, 1932 (solo)
ACA Gallery, New York City, 1933
Empire Galleries, New York City, 1934 (solo)
Ehrich-Newhouse Galleries, New York City, 1935 (solo)
Associated American Artists, “Miners and Reapers,” New York City, 1939 (solo), 1940 (solo), 1945 (solo), 1952
Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939 (mining murals)
Society of American Etchers, National Arts Club, New York City, 1940
Barzansky Galleries, New York City, 1941
Boston Public Library, 1981 (solo)
Salons of America, 1934
The Old Print Shop, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1934, 1938, 1939, 1941
Brooklyn Museum
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1940-1941
Los Angeles Museum of Art
Valentine Museum
Honolulu Academy of Art
Dayton Art Institute
Philadelphia Society of Etchers
Society of American Graphic Artists, 1924 (prize), 1928 (prize)
National Academy of Design, 1938, 1947
Ferargil Gallery, 1929
Milch Gallery, 1930
Art Institute of Chicago, 1942
American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers annual, 1936 (murals)
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975                   
Falk (ed.), The Annual & Biennial Exhibition Record of the Whitney Museum   
of American Art 1918-1989                   
Creps (ed.), Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters, Sculptors &   
    Engravers of the U. S.                       
Robertson, Representing America, Ken Trevey Collection, American Realist   
Oles and Reiman, South of the Border, Mexico in the American Imagination   
Falk (ed.), The Annual Exhibition Record of the Art Institute of Chicago       
Falk (ed.), Annual Exhibition Record, National Academy of Design 1901-1950   
Falk (ed.), Annual Exhibition Record, 1914-68, Pennsylvania Academy of the
Falk (ed.), Dictionary of Signatures & Monograms              
 Fine Arts
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art, Artists Active 1898-1947       
Marlor, The Society of Independent Artists Exhibition Record 1917-1944
Stebbins and Gorokhoff, American Paintings at Yale, An Illustrated Checklist   
Contreras, Tradition and Innovation in New Deal Art
Mason and Ludman, Print Reference Sources, Bibliography 18th-20th Centuries   
Rashell, Jewish Artists in America
Reese, American Prize Prints of the 20th Century               
Mallett, Index of Artists, International-Biographical
Lozowick, One Hundred Contemporary American Jewish Painters and       
Hall, Eyes on America, United States as Seen by Her Artists Sculptors                      Craven (ed.), A Treasury of American Prints, 100 Etchings and Lithographics by
Lang, Etched, in Memory, The Building and Survival of Artistic Reputation      Living Artists

Biography from Walker-Cunningham Fine Art:
Irwin D. Hoffman (1901-1989), was born on Chelsea Street, East Boston in 1901, one of four sons of Russian immigrant parents. Hoffman's artistic talents were recognized very early on and by the age of 15, Hoffman enrolled as a special student at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, and upon graduating from high school, became a full-time student on full scholarship.

At age 19, Boston's Grace Horne Galleries gave the young artist his first solo show where his works were displayed to the public in grand manner and the press referred to him as "a prodigy in portraiture." In 1924, Hoffman received The Paige Traveling Scholarship, the Museum School's most prestigious award. Traveling abroad with fellow award recipients and good friends Aiden Lassell Ripley and Carl Gordon Cutler, he studied and painted across Europe and became "grounded in the traditions of the past, but at the same time … keenly (aware of) the modern trend of painting, discerning in it a spirit and regeneration which greatly influenced his development." (Arnold Hoffman)

Upon his return from Europe, Hoffman established himself in a NYC studio, which he maintained until his death in 1989. From his base in New York, Hoffman traveled during the 30s & 40s with his brothers who owned a mining company and prospected in the southwestern US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Many of the canvases in this current exhibition reflect these travels. Hoffman connected and became friendly with the local residents of the small villages he visited, as with the miners who worked for his brothers.

Known early on as a talented portrait artist, and later as a prominent etcher of gritty genre scenes, the current exhibition highlights Irwin D. Hoffman's mastery of the oil medium. His brilliant hues and impasto technique convey atmosphere and attitude while establishing an empathic connection between subject and viewer.

Partial list of exhibitions:
1927 First Solo Show, Grace Horne Galleries, Boston
1932 Solo Show, New School of Social Research, NYC
1933 Group Show, ACA Gallery, NYC
1934 Solo Show, Empire Galleries, NYC
1935 Solo Show, Ehrich-Newhouse Galleries, NYC
1939 Solo Show, "Miners and Reapers" Associated American Artists, NYC
1939 Golden Gate International Exposition(Mining Murals, San Francisco
1940 Society of American Etchers, National Arts Club, NYC1941 Barzansky Galleries, NYC
1945 Solo Show, Associated American Artists Galleries, NYC1981 Solo Show, Boston Public Library
2001 Irwin Hoffman: In His Time, Alfred J. Walker Fine Art, Boston

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