Artists Past & Present

Featured Artist

Malvina Hoffman, 1887-1966

Feature Image


American sculptor and author, well known for her life-size bronze sculptures of people. She also worked in plaster and marble.
She moved to Europe in 1910 first to Italy and then on to Paris where after several attempts Rodin finally accepted her as a pupil
The Paris experience brought her into a circle of sculptors and artists like Constantin Brancussi and Ivan Mestrovic, Paderewski, the dancer, Anna Pavlowa, Gertrude Steinand Claude Monet.


In 1930, Stanley Field, the nephew of Marshall Field I, commissioned Malvina to sculpt and cast bronze figures depicting the peoples of the world, this was to be her greatest project and achievement, the creation of " The Hall of Man" for the Field museum of Chicago. "The Races of Mankind" is the largest singly commissioned body of her work and consists of 104 busts, heads and life-sized figures. The prevailing abstract artists of the day saw her work as either too realistic or too romantic.


Gradually, in the years since, critics and the museum itself have taken a different view, seeing in Hoffman's work not a simplification of ethnic types but extraordinary recreations of vibrant individuals from different cultures.


Following World War II, Hoffman was chosen to execute sculpture for the Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial near Vosges, France.
In addition to her professional talents, it is likely that Hoffman was chosen as the sculptor for this project because of the very active role she had played in the Red Cross during both WWI and WWII. Her selection also is symbolically meaningful because, during their occupation of France, the Nazis deliberately destroyed several of her commemorative works that were located in Paris.

Malvina Hoffman died at her studio-home in New York, New York, on July 10, 1966.