Eva Hesse is born in Hamburg on 11 January. She is the second child of Wilhelm Hesse, a trained lawyer, and his wife, Ruth Marcus Hesse. The Jewish family lives at Isestraße 98. since 1933 Wilhelm Hesse has been banned from practising law and now dedicates himself to the community of the synagogue on Bornplatz.
The family moves to Rothenbaumchaussee 181 in the summer, but following the Nazi pogrom on 9 November they decide to emigrate. On 7 December, Eva and her older sister Helen are sent on a Kindertransport (children's transport) from Altona train station to The Hague, where they are placed in a Catholic children's home in the neighbouring town of Rijswijk.
In February, Eva Hesse's parents manage to flee from Nazi Germany, and on 16 June the reunited family emigrates to New York City, following brief stays in the Netherlands and England.
Eva Hesse's parents divorce in the spring. Her father marries Eva Nathanson and is given custody of both children.
Shortly before Eva Hesse's tenth birthday, her mother commits suicide.1949 Eva Hesse graduates from Humboldt Junior High school in New York and decides to become an artist.
Hesse attends the School of Industrial Art in New York. After graduating from the window display course, she starts an advertising design course at the Pratt Institute of Design. In autumn 1953 she begins taking drawing classes at the art students League, and in september 1954 she enrols at Cooper Union. a profile of Eva Hesse as a young artist is published in Seventeen magazine.
In June, Hesse completes her design studies at Cooper Union. In September she enters the School of Art and Architecture at Yale University, where she studies under Josef Albers, among others. She gains a Bachelor of Fine arts degree and moves back to New York City.
Hesse works part-time for the Boris Kroll textile company, where she creates pattern designs for fabrics. In the summer she meets Sol LeWitt. She produces figurative paintings as well as some increasingly abstract works.
Drawings by Eva Hesse are shown for the first time in the exhibition Drawings:
Three Young Americans at the John Heller Gallery in New York. In April she meets Tom
Doyle, a sculptor, and they marry on 21 November.
Hesse produces a few large-format paintings, but the majority of her new works are drawings. she and her husband spend the summer in Woodstock, New York.
In March, her first solo show, Eva Hesse: Recent Drawings, opens at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York. In December, Hesse and Doyle move to 134 Bowery. Their new neighbours include Lucy Lippard, Robert Ryman, Frank Lincoln Viner, Sylvia Plimack-Mangold and Robert Mangold.
In June, Eva Hesse and Tom Doyle travel to Kettwig an der Ruhr, near Düsseldorf, at the invitation of Friedrich Arnhard Scheidt, a German industrialist and art collector. They set up their studio in an abandoned textile factory owned by Scheidt and his wife Isabel. During their time in Germany, Hesse and Doyle travel around Europe and visit exhibitions, including
documenta 3 in Kassel. Towards the end of the year, Hesse begins working on three-dimensional objects and Machine Drawings.
In March, Hesse produces her first relief, entitled Ringaround Arosie. In May, she and Doyle travel to Hameln to visit friends of her grandparents. On 21 May they travel on to Hamburg, where they try to visit her family's former apartment on Isestraße 98, but the current residents refuse to let them in. In august, the exhibition Eva Hesse: Materialbilder und Zeichnungen opens at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. After 15 months in Europe, Hesse and Doyle return to New York, where she produces her first freestanding sculptures.
Eva Hesse and Tom Doyle separate in January. On 16 august her father dies.
In September, works by Hesse are included in the group show Eccentric Abstraction,
curated by Lucy Lippard at the Fischbach Gallery in New York.
Eva Hesse begins working on her Accession series and produces her first 'test pieces' in latex. In November she takes part in the exhibition Art in Series at Finch
College Museum of Art in New York.
Hesse experiments with fibreglass and polyester. In September she begins teaching at the school of visual arts. Her first fibreglass piece, Repetition Nineteen III (1967) is shown alongside works by Donald Judd, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Louise Nevelson and Claes Oldenburg in the exhibition Made of Plastic at the Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Michigan. In November, the exhibition Eva Hesse: Chain Polymers opens at the Fischbach Gallery and secures her reputation as an artist.
In January, Eva Hesse completes works for the exhibition Live in Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form, curated by Harald Szeemann at the Kunsthalle Bern. In March she is diagnosed with a brain tumour and in April she undergoes her first operation; a second is carried out in august.
Hesse undergoes a third surgical procedure. The Fischbach Gallery presents another solo show of her drawings. In May, an extensive interview with Cindy Nemser is published in Artforum magazine, which features her work Contingent on the cover.
On 29 May, Eva Hesse dies at the age of only 34.