Recognized as an important American sculptress, Malvina Cornell Hoffman was born on 15 June 1887 in New York City, and was a portrait sculptor of pieces that expressed the fluid movement of dancers and lofty human values. She became especially noted for her hall-of-fame portraits, including American stage actress Katharine Cornell (1893-1974), American sculptress Frances Rich (1910-2007), Croatian those of sculptor Ivan Mestrovic (1883-1962), Scottish author John Muir (1838-1914), Polish diplomat Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), and Republican nominee for the 1940 US presidential election Wendell Wilkie (1892-1944).
Hoffman carved many of her pieces in stone, and some of them, including war monuments, were enormous in scale. Her masterpiece is considered to be The Races of Man, done in 1933, commissioned by the Marshall Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois. It had 105 separate pieces cast in bronze and depicted people from diverse cultures.
Hoffman studied with Herbert Adams (1858-1945) and Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) in New York, and in Paris in 1910 with Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), from whom she learned naturalism and whose doorstep she sat on until he agreed to see her. In Paris, she associated with numerous leading intellectuals, including Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), and Russian ballet star Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), and her bronze sculptures of Pavlova won her much attention and many commissions.
Artworks by Malvina Hoffman are kept at the following institutions: The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; the Henry R. Luce III Center for American Art, New York; the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; the Courtauld Institute of Art, London; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; the Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; the Hyde Collection Art Museum, Glens Falls, NY; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan, NY; the Huntington Sculpture Garden, Myrtle Beach, SC; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens