Martinique Woman, one of a number of portrait heads based on Malvina Hoffman’s travels through Africa about 1928, is a heroic-scale portrayal distinguished by the precise refinement of its volumes and the play of its polished and textured surfaces. Although the modernized realism of works such as this one signaled a deliberate break with earlier treatments of African subjects, ranging from caricature to escapist romanticism, there is no doubt that Hoffman’s choice of subject participated in a broader phenomenon of cross-cultural documentation through which Western “authorities” sought to reshape and control the identities of vastly different cultures.
- Artist: Malvina Hoffman, American, 1885-1966
- Medium: Black metamorphic stone
- Dates: 1928
- Dimensions: 22 x 14 1/4 x 15 1/4 in., 158 lb. (55.9 x 36.2 x 38.7 cm, 71.67kg) (show scale)
- Signature: Incised along bottom edge at back: "MALVINA HOFFMAN / © 1928"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 28.384
- Credit Line: Dick S. Ramsay Fund
- Rights Statement: © Estate of Malvina Hoffman
- Caption: Malvina Hoffman (American, 1885-1966). Martinique Woman, 1928. Black metamorphic stone, 22 x 14 1/4 x 15 1/4 in., 158 lb. (55.9 x 36.2 x 38.7 cm, 71.67kg). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 28.384. © Estate of Malvina Hoffman
- Catalogue Description: Over-life-sized head of woman with African features, head turned to right in 3/4 profile, hair gathered into small buns all over head, surface of skin is smoothly polished while hair is roughly textured. Medium possibly marble. Condition: Good, few small scratches and nicks overall.
- Record Completeness: Best (89%)