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Malvina Cornell Hoffman
(1887 - July 10, 1966) U.S.A.

Malvina Hoffman



Born in New York City noted especially for her work in bronzes. Initially studying painting, she switched to sculpture, studying first under Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of the Mt. Rushmore Monument, and then in Paris under Auguste Rodin. In 1910 her sculpture, "Russian Dancers" won first prize in an international art expo.

During the First World War she volunteered as a nurse and also helped found Appui aux Artistes to give assistance to needy artists. In 1919 she went on a tour of inspection for the US government to access the need for relief aid in the Balkans, which had suffered heavily in the conflict.

During the 1920s she produced the memorial sculptures "The Sacrifice," to commemorate Harvard alumni who had died in the war, and "To the Friendship of the English-Speaking People." She also produced exquisite portraits of John Keats, Anna Pavlova, and Ignacy Paderewski. In 1930 she was commisioned by the Museum of Natural History in Chicago to produce 110 sculptures representing the various racial types for its Hall of Man exhibit.

Traveling for five years to research the project, she finally produced 97 bronze and 13 stone statues. Her memoir, Head and Tale, was published in 1936 and Sculpture Inside and Out was published in 1939. She also produced a series of panels for the facade of the Joslin Clinic in Chicago and the World War II American Battle Monument at Epinal, France.

She won the Allied Artists of America gold medal in 1962 for her sculpture of a Mongolian archer. She was indeed one of the most accomplished and talented artists of the twentieth century. Though she was never open about her sexuality, the question of Malvina Hoffman's lesbianism seems to have been answered when Mercedes de Acosta listed Hoffman among her lovers in her own autobiography, Here Lies the Heart. Malvina Hoffman died in her New York studio home.


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