Hortense Gordon was born Hamilton, Ontario, in 1889. She took Saturday morning art classes with John Sloan Gordon at the Hamilton Art School while attending public school from 1895-1903. She later maried him in 1920. She was the first Canadian to study with Hans Hofmann in 1945, later teaching his theories in Canada.
She taught design and applied arts, particularly china painting, at the Hamilton Technical School from 1916-1951. In 1934 she became head of the Institute.
Gordon had her first solo show in 1952. She gave many public lectures on abstract art and was a founding member of Painter's Eleven in 1953, and The Women's Art Association of Hamilton in 1894.
She was an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy, a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Artists, the Contemporary Artists of Hamilton, the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton, the Ontario Society of Artists, North Shore Arts Association of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the International Federation of Art, Zurich, and the Art Teachers Guild, London.
She has has numerous solo and group exhibits at institutions such as, The Galerie Agnes Lefort, Montréal, The Burlington Public Library, and Willistead Art Gallery among others. She exhibited with Painter's Eleven on numerous occassions.
She died Hamilton, Ontario, in 1961.