Born in Detroit, Michigan, Hugo David Pohl became a painter of native people and landscape in New Mexico, Arizona, California and then Texas where he settled and became known for his paintings of missions. Between 1926 and 1927, he completed 29 Texas mission paintings.
At age 11, he studied with Julius Melchers and later at the Detroit Museum of Art with Joseph Gies. He also studied in New York City and in Paris at the Academy Julian with Jean Paul Laurens. He spent a brief time in New York and then was in Chicago for eighteen months doing murals for International Harvester Company.
In 1918, Pohl built a traveling studio onto his car and toured the West where he bought a ranch in Colorado and in 1919, painted the Indians and landscape of New Mexico and Arizona. In California, he lived briefly in the yard of San Luis Rey Mission, which he painted. He then became Director in Washington DC of the Art league, spent more time in Paris, and then settled in San Antonio, Texas, where he founded and taught at the San Antonio Art League and was longtime active in art circles. He was married to Minette Teichmueller, and they operated an art school. and lived in Leon Springs.