Thursday, February 2, 2012

Malvina Hoffman

Malvina Hoffman
American (1887-1966)

Malvina Hoffman refused to take "no" for an answer. The eminent sculptor Auguste Rodin declined to see her five times before he finally accepted her as a pupil in his studio. There, Hoffman not only developed her art, but mastered the physically and technically demanding aspects of sculpting, including how to cast her own bronzes. She personally did the heavy lifting usually done by foundry workers. In 1930, Hoffman received the largest commission ever granted to a sculptor, to create more than one hundred bronze sculptures of "The Races of Mankind" for Chicago's Field Museum. Over the next five years she traveled the world to find models and lived with the peoples she researched. Anthropologists and Modernist artists criticized Hoffman for her interpretations, but these figures have since been appreciated for their vitality and insight into character. In her long and prolific career, Hoffman also created portraits of prominent Americans, monumental sculpture groups, and a bas-relief frieze of Russian dancers that The New York Times called "a great legend of the art world".

(Source: Library of Congress 2006 Engagement Calendar)

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