Harry Leslie Hoffman was born 16 March 1874 at Cressona, Pennsylvania. He was long associated with the Old Lyme Colony at Storrs, Connecticut, and had the reputation as one of the best known American Impressionists. Hoffman studied at the Art Students League, New York City, Yale Art School, and Academie Julien, Paris. In 1902 he visited Old Lyme and for the rest of his life was associated with the Connecticut art colony. In the 1920s Hoffman accompanied the Smithsonian Institution's naturalist, William Beebe (1877-1962) to British Guiana, Galapagos Islands, and Bermuda, to document the flora and fauna of those regions. During that time he perfected a method of painting undersea vistas. Using a bucket with a glass bottom, he was able to view the aquatic life of coral reefs and shallow tidal pools. Hoffman wed the painter, Beatrice Pope, and they had an active collaboration throughout their lives. He worked in a variety of media, including watercolors, oils, and clay sculpture, and found success throughout his life. In 1915 he won a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, and was awarded prizes in Connecticut for his painting and sculpture. In addition to his long painting career, Hoffman was a writer, actor, and musician. He was active in the historic preservation of the Florence Griswold House, the intellectual center of the Old Lyme Colony, as a museum. Hoffman died at Old Lyme, Connecticut, 6 March 1966.
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