Malvina Hoffman’s Spirit in Marble

For Dia De Los Muertos, an homage to one who’s gone before: Malvina Hoffman. Her lovely 1913 self-portrait, “Spirit,” is in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh

Born in Brooklyn, Hoffman studied at the Art Students League in New York and is—for better or worse—best known for having sculpted bronze portraits for the Hall of Man in Chicago’s Field Museum. The hall, originally designed to illustrate the “races of man” with life size bronze sculptures of racial “types” was intended in 1929 as an educational display. Hoffman was clear in her intent to honor the dignity and individuality of the models she chose for her most important commission, but the hall’s racist overtones cast a shadow on her career and was dismantled after her death in 1966.

HoffmanSpirit

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