The Jewish painter and ceramicist Hilde Hamann, was born in Breslau. She initially lived in Berlin, then in Dresden, before moving to Hamburg in 1913, where she studied ivory carving and fabric painting under Carl Otto Czeschka at the School of Arts and Crafts. She then moved to Munich to study painting in the studio of Hans Hofmann. She married the sculptor Paul Hamann, with whom she had a daughter. Until 1926 they lived primarily in the artists’ colony of Worpswede. Hilde Hamann also studied in Paris under Fernand Léger for six months in 1924/25. In 1927, she joined the Hamburg Secession, despite she and her family having moved into the artists’ colony of Breitenbachplatz in Berlin in 1926.
The increasing dominance of the National Socialists, along with personal harassment, led the Hamanns to emigrate to Paris in 1933, where they rented a studio in an artists’ colony in Montparnasse. The Hamanns were given commissions by Jean Cocteau, André Gide and Man Ray. The Hamanns moved to London in 1936 on account of the continuing political uncertainty; their daughter was at a Swiss boarding school, but followed them to England in 1938. Hilde Hamann set up a studio in London, where she and her husband organised exhibitions and endeavoured to maintain contact with other German artists in exile in Britain. The Hamanns also helped to found the Free German League.
In late 1939 a neighbour reported them to the authorities for “spying”. Paul Hamann was arrested in 1940, at which time Hilde moved in with friends. After Paul was released in 1941, he and his wife separated. Hilde was unable to provide for herself as a freelance artist, so she worked in the design sector. Hilde Hamann became a British citizen in the early 1950s. Almost all of her oil paintings are today considered to be lost.