Exhibitions: Races of Man: Sculpture by Malvina Hoffman

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Statuette of the Lady Mi Standing

One of the finest wooden sculptures to survive from antiquity, this exquisitely carved figure of Lady Mi shows the elaborate wig and huge go...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Angel

    The son of slaves, folk carver William Edmondson did not begin to create art until 1931, when the Nashville hospital where he worked as an o...


    Races of Man: Sculpture by Malvina Hoffman

    • Dates: October 1936 through date unknown, 1936
    • Collections: American Art
    Press Releases ?
    • Date unknown, approximately 1936: Malvina Hoffman’s sculpture, bronze figures and portrait heads depicting the Races of Man, exhibited for the summer at the Brooklyn Museum, remind us that "the proper study of mankind is Man,” and also convince us that the proper student of mankind is woman. The Field Museum of Chicago decided that Malvina Hoffman was the proper student and commissioned her to tour Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the islands of the seas making models and casts in bronze or men and women selected as types of the various more or less distinct branches of the human race. The work took four years and led Miss Hoffman into many strange adventures in the lands of romance. The original series of life-sized bronzes was installed in the Hall of Man, Field Museum, beginning in 1932. The group of smaller replicas now installed at the Brooklyn Museum was first shown in the Trocadero, Paris, in 1933. It was shown for a short time in Manhattan the Grand Central Galleries in 1934. Now it is shown as at the Trocadero in relation to the ethnological collections of the Brooklyn Museum halls containing the arts of primitive cultures of the world. Twelve portraits by Miss Hoffman, showing racial types, are also shown, and several pieces of colossal sculpture, not all of it definitely ethnological in character.

      One infers from the exhibition that, great beauty of face is not typical of the human race, though there are some very beautiful faces among the bronzes: the Nubian, Hamite and Somali from Africa are possibly most beautiful, but there is also the Alpine type, the Male dancer from Java, the Andaman Islander. The face of the Sakai from the Malay Peninsula is one of, the most impressive, but it has the, force of extraordinary passion.

      To the casual observer the figure caught in characteristic attitudes of life are perhaps more impressive as works of art and more interesting in a human way than the very lifelike portrait heads. The Tamil Man of Southern India is climbing a tree, a basket strapped to his waist. The Hawaiian rides his surfboard. The Javanese boy and Balinese girl watch a cook fight. Yet the strangely elongated figure of the Skilluk Warrior of East Africa, standing quietly in repose is one of the most appealing of the figure studies, and the Jewel Merchant of Tibet seated with legs crossed conveys such a feeling of Oriental contemplation that his figure has been mistaken for, that of a priest.

      There is a torso of a Money Lender from Afghanistan who seems to have fattened on his trade. The Sicilian Fisherman with his net has something of the rugged action characteristic of Malvina Hoffman’s great teacher Rodin. The Pygmy from the Ituri Forest in Africa and the Kalihari Bushman Mother and Child, the dancing girl, a Dalboa of the Sara Tribe, all suggest the primitive feelings of the jungle as definitely as if the tangled forests could be seen around them. As a means of conveying rapidly the variety of human life the collection is as effective as the Trustees of the Field Museum and the courageous woman sculptor knew that it would be.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1931 - 1936. 04-06_1936, 087-8. View Original 1 . View Original 2

    advanced 110,591 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Recently Tagged Exhibitions

    Recent Comments

    "Hi Aimee, I think you mean Oreet Ashery? More information can be found in her profile on the Feminist Art Base: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/oreet_ashery.php?i=266"
    By shelley

    "Hi, I am trying to find the name of the artist who took and is in the photograph that follows- http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/exhibitions/664/Global_Feminisms_Remix/image/216/Global_Feminisms_Remix._%7C08032007_-_03032008%7C._Installation_view. I believe the artist takes pictures of herself dressed as a man but then exposes her femaleness, as in the photo of her dressed as an Ascetic Jew exposing her breast. Can you help me find her information? Thanks in advance- Aimee Record"
    By Aimee Record

    "For more information on Louis Schanker and the New York Art Scene of the mid 1900's go to http://www.LouisSchanker.info "
    By Lou Siegel

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.

    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
    This section utilizes the New York Times API in order to display related materials in New York Times publications.