Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966

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American sculptor and writer who studied with Auguste Rodin in the second decade of the 20th century.

From the description of Malvina Hoffman papers, 1897-1984. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 78086370

American sculptor.

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : New York, "Easter" [n.y.], to Mr. [Harry Harkness] Flagler. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270666321

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Paris, to Mr. Rosse, 1936 Aug. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270871020

Sculptor, painter, writer; New York, N.Y. Full name Malvina Cornell Hoffman; married name Mrs. Samuel Bonaries Grimson.

From the description of Malvina Hoffman letters, 1934-1937. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122576732

Malvina Hoffman (1887-1966) was a sculptor, painter, and writer from New York, N.Y.

Full name Malvina Cornell Hoffman; married name Mrs. Samuel Bonaries Grimson.

From the description of Malvina Hoffman letters and photographs, circa 1925-1937. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 744425651


Malvina Hoffman was born in Manhattan on June 15 1885 to Richard Hoffman, a well-known pianist and music teacher, and Fidelia Lamson Hoffman.

In 1998 she studied at the Brearley School, attending evening art classes at the Woman's School of Applied Designs, and the Art Students League of New York. Between 1904-1096, she studied painting and drawing with Harper Pennington and John White Alexander and sculpture with Herbert Adams, George Gray Bernard and Gutzon Borglum.

In 1909-1910 she produced her first portrait of her father and traveled to Paris to study with Rodin. She also worked as a studio assistant to sculptress Janet Scudder while living in Paris. Her first dance sculpture, "Russian Dancers" (1911), is inspired by Anna Pavlova's performance of "Bacchanale" in London. In the spring of 1911, portraits of Richard Hoffman and William Astor Chandler are accepted to the Paris Salon. Hoffman next studied anatomy at the Cornell University College of Physicians, and began the models for "Bacchanale," a frieze of 25 panels that took her ten years to complete. Her "Russian Dancers" was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in this period.

Hoffman returned to Paris in 1912 to work with Rodin. Two more dance figures, "Bacchanale Russe" and "L'Après-midi d'un faune" (inspired by a performance of Vaslav Nijinsky) were completed this year.

In 1914-1915 Hoffman had her first solo exhibition, held at the East 34th St. studio in Manhattan. While in London for an exhibition at Leicester Galleries, she supervised the installation of Rodin's works at Grosvenor House. She also assisted in the cataloging of Rodin's drawings for the Musée Rodin at the Hôtel Biron, Paris. During this period, Hoffman collaborated in the organization of Appuix Aux Artistes to support models and artists unemployed as a result of the onset of World War I.

She returned to New York in the Fall and established a permanent residence and studio at Sniffen Court in Murray Hill, Manhattan. Produces numerous photographs and drawings of Pavlova with Andreas Pavley posing for "Bacchanale." Exhibitions of her dance groups and lithographs were held at the Brooks Reed Gallery in Boston and the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco.

In 1919 she was in a group show at the Whitney Studio Club, and returned to Paris to assist in the installation of Rodin's work in the Musèe Rodin. Her "Bacchanale Russe" was placed in the Luxembourg Gardens this year, and she undertook a seven week tour of Yugoslavia in August of 1919, as a representative of the American Relief Commission.

In 1920-1921 she completed "Offrande" (based on Paul Verlaine poem), "La Péri" and "The Sacrifice," a memorial to American Ambassador Robert Bacon for Harvard Memorial Chapel. She resumed work on "Bacchanale" with Pavlova and Novikoff, and had her first one-woman exhibition at Ferargil Galleries in May, 1921.

In 1924 she completed "Bacchanale," and married her childhood friend Samuel Grimson. Also in 1924, American businessman Irving Bush commissioned Hoffman's most significant architectural sculpture for the Bush House in London, commemorating Anglo-American friendship.

In 1925 Hoffman traveled to Zagreb to study equestrian sculpture with Ivan Mestrovic, and filmed him at work on his "American Indian Groups" for Chicago's Grant Park. She moved to Villa Asti in Paris with Grimson and had a major exhibition at the Grand Central Art Galleries in December, 1928.

In 1929 Stanley Field commissioned Hoffman to create sculptures of "The Races of Mankind" for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She traveled for eight months photographing, drawing and taking anthropological data of models for ethnographic "portraits." She produced 104 sculptures, first exhibited in 1932 at the Musée d'Ethnographie at the Palais du Trocadero before permanent installation at the Field Museum. Hoffman became a celebrity with the opening of the Hall of Man on June 6, 1933,

She divorced Grimson in 1936 and returned to Sniffen Court. Her ethnographic sculptures were exhibited in several venues including the Dance International Exposition (1937). Her "International Dance Fountain" was installed at the New York World's Fair, 1939. In 1939 she published Sculpture Inside and Out (1939), an instructional guide to sculpture. In 1943 she published an account of her travels for the Hall of Man commission, Heads and Tales .

Between 1948-1950, Hoffman worked on a World War II memorial for Epinal Memorial Cemetery in France. In 1955 she produced relief panels for the Joslin Hospital, Boston. In 1965 she published her autobiography, Yesterday is Tomorrow . Malvina Hoffman died July 19, 1966 at Sniffen Court, Manhattan.

From the guide to the Malvina Hoffman papers, 1897-1984, (The Getty Research Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Malvina Hoffman papers, 1897-1984. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Frank Weitenkampf letters Archives of American Art
referencedIn Marguerite Yourcenar papers, 1920-1986. Houghton Library
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina. Miscellaneous papers. Jacksonville University, Carl S. Swisher Library
referencedIn Central Committee on Friendship Dinners. Records, 1927-1950 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Harvard Art Museum. Exhibition Records, 1905-2008 Harvard Art Museums. Archives
referencedIn Isabel Bishop papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Isabel Bishop papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1951-1962. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972. Financial records, 1892-1969. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Fenton, Mary Frances, 1937-2006,. Mary Frances Fenton Collection, 1908-2000 Western Michigan University, Dwight B. Waldo Library
creatorOf Yourcenar, Marguerite. Marguerite Yourcenar papers, 1920-1986 (inclusive), 1950-1980 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Records, 1927-1950 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Ferargil Galleries records Archives of American Art
referencedIn American Ballet Theatre records, 1936-ca. 1967 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
creatorOf Katherine Thayer Hobson papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Miscellaneous manuscripts. New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
referencedIn Malvina Hoffman [graphic]. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Letters : New York and Paris, to Harriet Sartain, 1934 Feb. 11 and 1935 Aug. 12. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
creatorOf Malvina Hoffman papers, 1897-1984 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Malvina Hoffman : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
creatorOf Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972. General correspondence, 1901-1972. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Acosta, Mercedes de. Papers, 1855-1964 (bulk 1920-1962). Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Vose Galleries of Boston records Archives of American Art
creatorOf Glasgow, Ellen Anderson Gholson, 1873-1945. Papers of Ellen Glasgow [manuscript], 1880-1963. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Papers of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Barnes Bliss, ca. 1860-1969 (inclusive) Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Alma de Bretteville Spreckels papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Martin Birnbaum papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf Mary Turlay Robinson papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Miscellaneous art exhibition catalog collection Archives of American Art
referencedIn Isabella Stewart Gardner papers Archives of American Art
referencedIn Central Press Photograph (London). Press photographs of early twentieth century artists and sculptors. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Getty Research Institute. Study photographs of 20th century art. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Artists collection, ca. 1902-1939. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Autograph letter signed : Paris, to Mr. Rosse, 1936 Aug. 25. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Rich, Frances. Frances Rich papers, 1924-1988. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Delano, William Adams, 1874-1960. William Adams Delano papers, 1902-1960 (inclusive), 1939-1960 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf René Gimpel papers Archives of American Art
creatorOf HOFFMAN, MALVINA. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Louise Branch papers, 1921-1949, 1937-1938 The New York Public Library. Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
referencedIn The Ivan Meštrović Collection 1904-2009. Syracuse University
referencedIn Newark Museum. Records of exhibitions, related programs, and events, 1906-[ongoing]. Newark museum
referencedIn Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Parsons, Geoffrey, 1879-1956. Papers, ca.1919-1959. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Marguerite Yourcenar additional papers, 1842-1996. Houghton Library
creatorOf Meštrović, Ivan, 1883-1962. Papers, 1924-1962. University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library
referencedIn Clara E. Sipprell Papers, 1915-1970 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Malvina Hoffman letters and photographs Archives of American Art
referencedIn William Ernest Hocking papers Houghton Library
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Autograph letter signed, dated : New York, "Easter" [n.y.], to Mr. [Harry Harkness] Flagler. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Acosta, Mercedes de. person
correspondedWith American Ballet Theatre corporateBody
associatedWith Birnbaum, Martin, 1878-1970. person
associatedWith Bishop, Isabel, 1902-1988. person
correspondedWith Bliss, Robert Woods, 1875-1962 person
associatedWith Branch, Louise, 1901-1959 person
associatedWith Bush House (London, England) corporateBody
associatedWith Cahoon, Herbert, 1918- person
associatedWith Central Committee on Friendship Dinners. corporateBody
associatedWith Dance International, 1937 corporateBody
associatedWith Delano, William Adams, 1874-1960. person
associatedWith Epinal American Cemetery (France) corporateBody
associatedWith Fenton, Mary Frances, 1937-2006, person
associatedWith Ferargil Galleries. corporateBody
associatedWith Field Museum of Natural History. corporateBody
associatedWith Field, Stanley, 1875-1964 person
associatedWith Flagler, Harry Harkness, person
associatedWith Gardner, Isabella Stewart, 1840-1924. person
associatedWith Getty Research Institute corporateBody
associatedWith Gimpel, René. person
associatedWith Glasgow, Ellen Anderson Gholson, 1873-1945. person
associatedWith Grimson, S. B., (Samuel B.) person
associatedWith Harvard Art Museum Archives corporateBody
associatedWith Hobson, Katherine Thayer, 1889-1982. person
associatedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873- person
associatedWith Iacovleff, Alexandre, 1887-1938. person
associatedWith Keats, John, 1795-1821. person
associatedWith Lemordant, Jean Julien, 1878-1968. person
associatedWith Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection (Pierpont Morgan Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Meštrović, Ivan, 1883-1962. person
associatedWith Moore Institute of Art, Science and Industry. corporateBody
associatedWith Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972. person
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Newark Museum. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
associatedWith New York World's Fair (1939-1940) corporateBody
associatedWith Parry, Roger, 1905-1977. person
associatedWith Parsons, Geoffrey, 1879-1956. person
associatedWith Pavlova, Anna, 1881-1931. person
associatedWith Rich, Frances. person
associatedWith Robinson, Mary Turlay, 1887 or 8-1971. person
associatedWith Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917. person
associatedWith Rosse, Mr, person
associatedWith Sartain, Harriet, d. 1957. person
associatedWith Sipprell, Clara E. (Clara Estelle), 1885-1975 person
associatedWith Spreckels, Alma de Bretteville, 1881-1968. person
associatedWith Vose Galleries of Boston. corporateBody
associatedWith Watts, Harvey Maitland, 1864-1939. person
associatedWith Weitenkampf, Frank, 1866-1962. person
associatedWith White, Edith M., 1882-1966. person
associatedWith Whitney Studio Club. corporateBody
associatedWith Yourcenar, Marguerite. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Chicago (Ill.)
Chicago (Ill.)
New York (State)--New York
New York (State)--New York
Art, American
Sculpture, American
Bronze founding
Sculpture, French
World War, 1914-1918
Women sculptors


Birth 1887-06-15

Death 1966-07-10





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