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Martinique Woman

Malvina Hoffman

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries, 5th Floor
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.
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"
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of Malvina Hoffman
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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
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.
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.
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