Raised and educated in Munich, Hofmann then moved to Paris in 1904 and remained there until 1914. Returning to Munich, Hofmann opened a school to support himself during the War as he had been declared unfit for service. He established himself as an influential teacher and went on to teach in California, before settling in New York in 1932 and opening a school the following year. In 1958 he abandoned teaching and dedicated himself to his own work. His colourful, abstract canvases explore the relationship between the surface plane and gestural paint work,and he soon became one of the most important figures of Abstract Expressionism. He represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1960.