Irwin Hoffman was born in 1901 in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended the Museum School of Fine Arts in that city, and in 1924 he received the Paige Traveling Fellowship which enabled him to continue his studies throughout Europe.
In 1930 he traveled to Russia and created works depicting Russian peasants and the hardships they endured. In 1933 he went to Mexico, where his work received critical acclaim. Later in the decade, partly due to the fact that his two brothers were mining engineers, he turned to documenting miners. Among his many works, he produced a mural showing the history of mining. He exhibited it at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, and it now resides at the Colorado School of Mines.
In 1943 Irwin Hoffman became an Artist-Correspondent for Abbott Laboratories. In this capacity he documented training for Navy medical corpsmen as they prepared for action in the South Pacific and Europe.
Irwin Hoffman died in 1989.