Frederick Hammersley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1919. He attended the University of Idaho, Southern Branch, from 1936-38 followed by the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles from 1940-42. He served in the US Army during World War II. At the end of his service, he was stationed in Paris, where he attended classes at the École des Beaux Art in 1945. Under the GI Bill, he returned to the Chouinard School of Art in 1946-47, then continued his artistic studies at the Jepson Art Institute from 1947-50.
He lived in Los Angeles in the ’50s. During that time, he developed his distinct “hard-edged” technique and began associating with a small group of artists known as the Abstract Classicists. This hard-edged style made its debut in a 1959 group exhibition called Four Abstract Classicists, which included works by Hammersley, John McLaughlin, Lorser Feitelson and Karl Benjamin. In 1968, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
His artwork is in the permanent collections of Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, among others.
Hammersley died at the age of 89 in 2009 in Albuquerque.