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.