On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries
Although ostensibly a portrait head of a woman from the Caribbean island of Martinique, this sculpture is one of a number of heads based on Malvina Hoffman’s travels through Africa about 1928.
The modernized realism of this work signaled a deliberate break with earlier treatments of African subjects ranging from caricature to romanticism. For many years, however, the critical reception of Hoffman’s work remained firmly embedded in racist language and a Eurocentric point of view.
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) (show scale)
Incised along bottom edge at back: "MALVINA HOFFMAN / © 1928"
Dick S. Ramsay Fund
© Estate of Malvina Hoffman
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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. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 28.384_front_PS2.jpg)
front, 28.384_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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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.
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