Skip Navigation

Martinique Woman

Malvina Hoffman

American Art

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.
MEDIUM Black Belgian marble
DATES 1928
DIMENSIONS 22 × 14 1/4 × 15 1/4 in., 158 lb. (55.9 × 36.2 × 38.7 cm, 71.67kg) mount: 22 1/2 × 13 1/2 × 14 in. (57.2 × 34.3 × 35.6 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Incised along bottom edge at back: "MALVINA HOFFMAN / © 1928"
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
PROVENANCE December 10, 1928, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
Provenance FAQ
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.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Malvina Hoffman (American, 1885–1966). Martinique Woman, 1928. Black Belgian marble, 22 × 14 1/4 × 15 1/4 in., 158 lb. (55.9 × 36.2 × 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)
IMAGE front, 28.384_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of Malvina Hoffman
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.