Margo Hoff
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HOFF--Margo. Modernist artist Margo Hoff died Sunday, August 17th, in the Spartan, Manhattan loft which served as both her painting studio and home. She was 98 years old. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney, Metropolitan, Art Institute of Chicago, the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Biblioteque Nationale (Paris) and many other public and private collections worldwide. Ms. Hoff was born (1910) and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As a six-year-old she modeled small figures from the clay the well-drillers left behind. At 14 she won a silver medal in "Free Hand Drawing." After two years at the University of Tulsa, she relocated to Chicago to pursue the study of art. She first found success with her edgy, figurative work while still a student at the Art Institute of Chicago in the mid-1940s; a one-man show at the Wildenstein Galleries in Paris (1955) brought international recognition. She moved permanently to NYC in 1960, where her more abstract collage paintings attracted immediate institutional and critical attention; "The Crowd" (1960), a 40" x 30" paper collage and acrylic on canvas, was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art that same year. She would later exhibit with Betty Parsons. As artist-in residence she taught at numerous American universities as well as in China, Brazil, Lebanon and Uganda. She is survived by a daughter, Mia, of Edinburgh, Scotland. A memorial service is pending. (More information about Margo Hoff's life and career is available at

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Published in New York Times on Sep. 14, 2008.
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7 entries
November 24, 2014
I wish I could have met Margo. I think my mother knew her... anyway, I grew up with 2 of her early paintings on my bedroom wall, Mom had another on hers. I saw something much larger of hers in the Women's Art Museum in DC a few years ago. Learning her story has been inspiring.
Connie Hoge
January 14, 2009
I took a summer painting class with Margo in the early 80's at Drew University in NJ. We had to do several paintings a week to help us learn to trust our instincts and it was wonderful. I remember she was fascinating, kind and very strong. When I once said a particular brownish color was ugly, she said don't say that, that no color was ugly. At the final critique she said to me, "I think your'e a painter." Those words still mean so much to me.
Pat Hinton
November 24, 2008
Margo talking to students at Saint Mary's College in 1970.
Margo Hoff was at Saint Mary's College as artist in residence in 1970 when i was a senior in the art dept. I was very influenced by her presence there and have admired her for a long time. I recall she always seemed to have a sketchbook close by at all times. She lived in an apartment at our school and it was not long before she invited the small group of art majors to her place for lentil soup. She was very helpful advising me on my senior thesis project.

I was a bit too awestruck as a student to keep in touch with her once her year as an artist in residence was finished. I did muster the courage once while in NY to give her a phone call. When she answered the call and realized i was calling from a public phone she immediately asked the number of that phone so she could call me back.

I remember she advised me to go east if i was going to pursue a career as an artist, for whatever reason i ended up in California. I have been working in the field of architecture but have managed to maintain some activity in the arts. I have just adjusted my professional work load and am refocusing on art. Margo's active career in art will be an inspiration for me as I take on this new direction.

I enjoyed very much seeing photos of Margo at various stages of her life which confirmed for me her playful but elegant approach to life. I had the pleasure to take a photo of her at Saint Mary's for the yearbook ( I will post it here).

Patti Walters
Lecturer and former Director of the Program on Architecture
Stanford University
Patti Walters
October 20, 2008
I had the pleasure of having Margo as a teacher when she was an artist-in-residence at my undergrad college. She subsequently wrote me a reference when I attended grad school at Bard (MFA). She was a generous friend and a truly admirable spirit. Always mysterious, yet always open-this was Margo. A true Bohemian. We will miss this 20th century genius greatly.

I won't soon forget her dinner parties on 14th St. One time she hung out with my parents and me in the Park, we had gone to Via Ticino. The first time I met her, she came up to me and caressed my blouse. She loved the pattern. I always loved the way she dressed too. Like a living painting.
Cindi Cericola
September 16, 2008
September 16, 2008

I had the good fortune in 1984 at the age of 26 to have rented an apartment at 218 E. 12th St., a brownstone then-owned by Margo and her friends, the esteemed editors and literary translators Frances Keene and Adrienne Foulke. They preferred renting to younger people involved in New York's cultural life and when Margo interviewed me, she liked that I was working as an editor at Conde Nast. I loved my 3 years living at 218 with those charming and eccentric landladies. My and my roommate's flat was right below Margo's spartan top-floor one and I was always pleased to be invited upstairs for a chat and drink or to sit on the stoop with her and listen to her talk about her art and life. When I moved out of the building and out of New York in 2008, I didn't keep in touch with Margo, something I've always regretted. She leaves behind a lot of people who will always remember their time spent with her.
Joyce Howe
September 15, 2008
I met Margo through her dear friend Gordon. I found her to be one of the most interesting people I've met, very analytical of all around her as any true artist is, and hilarious in such a dry, intelligent way. Her art enriches my life on a daily basis. I miss her even more knowing as I do how much she meant to her closest friends
Matthew Rettenmund
September 14, 2008
Margo Hoff was my aunt. I didn't really know her since she moved to Chicago when I was very young. But.. when she did come home (Tulsa, OK) for family reunions, she was so fascinatiing to talk with. All my love to Mia.
Bettie Hoff-Beals
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