Hans Hofmann was born on March 21, 1880, in Weinbenburg, Bavaria. His father Theodor was a well educated man with a background in engineering. When Hofmann was only six years old his father took a job in Munich working for the government, transitioning the family from a more rural area to the hustle and bustle of the industrial big city.
In his school years Hofmann, under the influence of his father, took interest in math and science. He excelled in both and by the age of sixteen he began working as an engineer for the Public Works department of the Bavarian government. His mathematical prowess was unmatched by others of his age and he was recognized for superior abilities. While working for the government, Hofmann developed such devices as the electromagnetic compometer, a sensitized light bulb, a portable freezer for military uses, and an early form of radar for ships.
Hofmann had always been interested in creative studies, especially painting, but did not pursue them because of his success of his engineering and his father. After his father death, in Hofmann began art instruction under 1898 under german artist Moritz Heymann. This marks the beginning of a several year period in which Hofmann moves frequently from place to place and studies under many instructors in several different schools. He finally settles in Paris in 1905, with he newly found wife, Maria Wolfegg. Hofmann is now painting full time with a group of other German artists located in Paris. He exhibits in shows with them as well. The summer of 1913 Hofmann and his wife leave Paris for a vacation in Corisca, but after the start of WWI they are not admitted back into the country.
Not able to return to his home in Paris, Hofmann moves to Germany and opens his own school of art. Being a teacher he is able to dodge his german military service requirement for the war. After the war is over, Hofmann teaches sessions at the School of Fine Arts in Germany. His teachings become increasingly popular as he grew as a recognized artist so he began taking short term teaching jobs throughout Europe. He moved to the USA in 1933 to pursue his passion of teaching. He teaches at many different schools all over the United States and even opens private sessions with people whom he believed to be gifted. In 1938 Hofmann's work becomes well recognized in the United States after a famous critic attends one of his lectures and is fascinated with his teaching abilities and skills as a painter. Hofmann's color work and theories of color relationships, especially in the context of space and after image recognition, were genius, ahead of his time, and inspired many of the future core avant-garde abstract painters of the 40's and 50's. In 1943 Hofmann had attracted the attention of illustrious art connoisseur Peggy Guggenheim, Peggy was intrigued by the artist bold pallet and organized his very first solo show! With the help he received from Peggy Hofmann's work was launched into the mainstream media and was received most graciously. Hofmann grew in popularity and status and held multiple solo shows, all the while continuing to teach. Hofmann grew very close to a lot of the major players in the abstract expressionist movement of this time and continually exhibited with the likes of De Kooning, Kline, Blume, and others.
In 1958 Hofmann retires from teaching and dedicates all of his time to painting. He was a very active member in the artistic community and continued to work in the studio everyday. He also continued frequently participate in group shows as well as hold solo shows up until his death on February 17th 1966, sixteen days after his annual solo exhibit launched at the Kootz and just before his 86th birthday.