Harry Leslie Hoffman (1871 - 1964)
January, Nassau, 1917
8 x 10 inches
Signed and dated at lower right
Hoffman 17: Inscribed (in pencil) verso
Estate of the artist
Private Collection, 1990-present
Salmagundi Club, New York, Thumb-box Exhibition, n.d.
Harry Hoffman, born in Cressona, Pennsylvania, studied in New York City and Paris before going to Old Lyme in 1902 and associating with other artists working there during the summer months. He returned to Old Lyme over the next few summers, then moved there permanently in 1910, although continuing to spend winters in a New York City apartment for the next two decades. Hoffman took strong interest in Old Lyme activities, including the Lyme Art Association and later the Florence Griswold Association. In addition, he enjoyed any opportunity to perform on stage, becoming a regular actor with the local theater group and making “memorable” appearances at the annual Old Lyme Street Fair.
Hoffman later gained recognition for his numerous watercolor sketches of underwater life, from which he produced several hundred oil paintings. He also pursued his undersea interest on research trips to Bermuda, British Guiana (now Guyana), and the Galapagos Islands. In the early 1930s, Hoffman’s wife, Beatrice Hoffman, who had pursued an interest in creating tapestries based on her husband’s designs, was instrumental in the founding of the Old Lyme Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.