Hermann studied from 1874 to 1879 at the Academy of Art in Berlin, under Eduard Daege and later Otto Knille (drawing), Christian Wilberg (painting) and Karl Goesov (landscape painting).
In 1880 he continued his studies at the Düsseldorf Art Academy with Eugen Dücker.
Hermann also made his first study trips to the Netherlands from Düsseldorf, where he started his own studio in 1883. He first painted in Dordrecht for a while and then traveled annually to the Netherlands for longer periods, from 1886 from Berlin.
He painted in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Vlissingen, Volendam, Spakenburg and Katwijk aan Zee (where he worked with German Grobe). In the 1890s he joined the Egmond School of Gari Melchers and George Hitchcock for a while. He was also, albeit less prominent, part of the Berlin 'Group of eleven' ("Gruppe der XI"), with Walter Leistikov and Max Liebermann, among others.
He mainly painted 'en plein air', especially village, city, beach and harbor views, with many human figures, gray skies and attention to typical Dutch folklore elements. Characteristic for his work are the balanced color and light values and a loose, impressionistic touch. The direct visual impression was always central to his work, although he also kept anecdotal details in mind.
Hermann also made study trips to France and Italy (Venice). He was an honorary citizen of Berlin. He died in 1942 in Berlin, aged 82.