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 Maud Miller Hoffmaster  (1883 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: Michigan/California      Known for: landscape painting, teaching, writing

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Maud Miller Hoffmaster   (1883 – 1969)

An internationally known landscape artist, art teacher, lecturer and writer, Maud Miller Hoffmaster was born in 1883 in Manistee, Michigan, the daughter of William H. and Adelaide (Helfferich) Miller.  She attended public schools locally and in Traverse City.  Her initial art training came at the bedside of her ill father where she passed evenings at his bedside making pencil sketches of the scenes around their farm.  Upon her marriage to Havillah Hoffmaster, her husband's first gift was a box of oil paints.  She put them to quick use and one of her early paintings brought $250.  She was then able to study at the Chicago Art Institute for six weeks - that being her entire formal art training.  

Mrs. Hoffmaster, despite such minimal formal training, went on the participate in many one-man shows and jury shows in Paris, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Pasadena, Laguna Beach, Carmel, Pebble Beach, and the Crocker Memorial Museum, Sacramento plus numerous others during her lifetime.  While exhibiting in Paris, one French critic stated: “She holds the secret of the right color and the right technique-although she knew no rules for painting except what she felt in her heart.”  Another found her “poetic landscapes” as “enchanting as the pages of the great Thoreau.”

The novels Path of Gold and Nee Na (a wildflower good fairy novel) were written by her and followed by Make Believe (with poems by Eleanor Jewett, a Chicago art critic).  She also illustrated Jewett's poems that appeared in the Chicago papers in the 1930's.

When the International Music camp at Interlochen, Michigan was charting its art courses, she became its foremost organizer and even helped carry stone to hasten erection of the Fine Arts building.  She taught there for several years and was supervisor of the arts program for 14 years.

It was quite common that visitors to her studio would be given small cards upon which she had written:  “Wherever you go in this world, may that place be more beautiful because you have been there.”

Mrs. Hoffmaster was the organizer for the Anti-Litter campaign that began in 1920.  She was the one who coined the phrase “Litterbug.”  She was a past president and life member of the Traverse City Women's Club, past chairman of the Fine Arts of Michigan Federated Women's Club and an honorary member of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority.  The American League of Professional Artists also lists her as a charter member.

At the age of 85, after a long illness, she died at the Grand Traverse Medical Care Facility.  On her tombstone was written that she had lived by her own motto. 

Submitted by Edward Bentley, Art Researcher, Greenville, Michigan

Biographical information provided by the History Center of Traverse City and her obituary.    


These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in Manistee, MI on Dec. 29, 1883. Hoffmaster was a Michigan artist who spent long periods on the Monterey Peninsula in the 1930s. She died in Traverse City, MI on Oct. 2, 1969.
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1936-62; Carmel Pine Cone, 3-18-1938; Women Artists of the American West.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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