Born Irene Wallbrecht in Hannover in 1903, Irene married Bauhaus student and architect Hubert Hoffmann in 1929 and took his name. Between 1930 and 1932 she studied advertising with Joost Schmidt and photography with Walter Peterhans at the Bauhaus in Dessau. When the school moved to Berlin, she continued her studies in Berlin for another year before the Bauhaus was forced to close down entirely. In Berlin Hoffmann opened a photography studio with fellow Bauhaus student Hannes Schmitt, which they operated between 1933 and 1936. During this time she mostly took portraits and worked on advertising commissions, but also worked with László Moholy-Nagy. Moreover, between 1934 and 1936 she collaborated on advertising graphics with her husband Hubert Hoffmann. In 1936 she left Berlin, like so many of her fellow Bauhaus colleagues, and immigrated to the US. She lived in Allentown Pennsylvania until her death in 1971.