Hattorf Collection

Alvin Fredrick Hattorf

Alvin was born in Newport News, Virginia in 1899 and grew up in the local Richmond area. He served in the armed forces in World War I and went on to become a clerk for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, from which he retired in 1951. Alvin began painting as a hobby around 1930 after attending an art class in Denver while visiting relatives. 

He studied painting under Vaclav Vytlacil and Morris Kantor in New York at the Art Students League where he met his wife Helen Hattorf, as well as the Henry Hensche School of Art in Massachusetts. He focused mainly on abstractions of landscapes and urban scenes done in watercolor and oils. Virginia Union University is the owner of a unique collection of his work.

Helen A. King Hattorf

Helen Hattorff was born in Huntington, Indiana in 1900. Her interest in painting began at the age of twelve. Mrs. Hattorff specialized in abstract oils and watercolors and her art, along with her husband’s, was exhibited in every major art show in Virginia from 1941 until their deaths. 

Mrs. Hattorff decided to share her love of art with others by becoming an art and ceramics instructor for the Chicago public school system from 1923 to 1937. She also instructed at Thomas Jefferson high School in Virginia for fifteen years.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 1921 and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1924 and the Chicago Normal School in 1925. 

Their art was exhibited in every major art show in Virginia from 1941 until their deaths in the 1970’s.

“Alvin Frederick Hattorf and Helen King Hattorf hold a very special place in the history of Richmond art. People who knew them will tell you they were somewhat eccentric, living only for their passion to paint.” -– Robert Merritt, Richmond Times Dispatch, April 1980

Learn More -
VMFA Catalog, Virginia Artist Series No.15 October 17 - November 6, 1941 https://www.vmfa.museum/piction/94067293-123112529/