Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Nuer Man and other male sculptures from Malvina Hoffman

A passionate reader of this blog suggested to include Malvina Hoffman in the sculptors mentioned here, with a focus on her Nuer Man, the African warrior standing nude on one leg.

'The Nuer Man'

Indeed, her talent and achievements are impressive : she sculpted more than 100 life-sized mainly male sculptures based on real models, to illustrate the diverse groups of cultures around the world. Our dear reader, based in Chicago, was lucky to meet himself some of these Nuer tribesmen when he spent some time in Western Ethiopia and South Sudan.

As he says, "Hoffmann's sculptures were largely 'hidden away' for years because their realism was considered an 'embarassment' ... even though her sculptures were amazingly accurate. She took meticulous measurements of every part of her subjects: nose, arms, penis, everything. Even the Nuer Man was pulled from the floor of the Art Institute of Chicago for a while; but they created a new space where they now display a number of works by her, including this piece".


Malvina Hoffman (1885-1966), born in New York, was from an artist background (her father was an excellent pianist) and he encouraged her to sculpt. So did the famous sculptor of Mt Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, seeing a bust that she had sculpted. When her father died, she moved to Italy then Paris as she wanted to continue to study art, and she wanted to do it with Rodin!


And she succeeded (after many attemps to meet him!). She studied with him from 1910 to 1914. Rodin was reportedly impressed by both her persistency, and the quality of two busts she did (the one of her father, and another bust she had made of a young violin soloist named Samuel Grimson, who would later become her husband.

Malvina Hoffman in her studio
"Rodin’s essence of teaching as per her statement is “Do not be afraid of realism”. He later convinced her to return to Manhattan to spend a year dissecting bodies at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The education she received there was invaluable, honing her remarkable skill of rendering anatomical features that was evidenced highly when she embarked on her ambitious project to sculpt the anthropological series."

"Stanley Field, director of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, commissioned Hoffman to create sculptures of people representing members of the diverse groups of cultures around the world that became a permanent exhibition at the museum entitled "Hall of the Races of Mankind".
She started this project in 1930. She was very skilled at expressing the beauty of her subjects during their daily activities.


The museum also published a Map of Mankind, featuring her sculptures in a border surrounding a map of the world that was distributed widely with an informative, large-format booklet that made Hoffman's sculptures very well known."

Photograph of the Nuer Man who posed for Malvina Hoffman

In 2016, fifty recently conserved sculptures from the Mankind collection were on display at the museum in an exhibition called, "Looking at Ourselves: Rethinking the Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Two men in a Paris cemetery - Auguste Maillard

These two naked men, located in a prominent cemetery in Paris, and sculpted in stone, are a mystery. They were created by Auguste Maillard, famous French sculptor who died in 1944, but we could not find any information about it (except that it was given after his death), unlike others sculptures from him, well documented.

We initially discovered the existence of this sculpture, years ago and not knowing where it was, through the French photographer Paul Marguerite. Then, only knowing the town (which has two cemeteries), looking at the other pictures we determined which of the two it was, and went a few days ago, where we could take the pictures of this post. So it is located in the 'New' cemetery of Neuilly, actually on the areas of Puteaux/Nanterre, built around 1884.

Auguste Maillard was born in 1864, he studied sculpture with Alexandre Falguière, at the Paris Fine Arts school. Numerous busts and monuments from him are disseminated in France. In public places, cemeteries. He died accidentally during the 'Libération' or end of the last war, in August 1944, having received a lost bullet in front of his house, in Neuilly.

During the World Exhibition held in Paris in 1900, he received an award for his 'Icarus fall'
marble sculpture, which unfortunately disappeared mysteriously during a transfer for being 'renovated', in 2005.

Auguste Maillard 'Icarus Fall' postcard - Collection Delcampe

Paul Marguerite
Article sur La Chute d'Icare

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Your Daily Male 2019 calendar : selection of male sculptures

The Groningen-based Galerie Mooiman, specialized in male art, and already mentioned in this blog (see here), just released his Daily Male 2019 calendar filled with artworks from 52 artists, and this time with 7 sculptors among them. All these artists concentrate their work on the male (nude) beauty and body. I am honored to be part of this group.

This Dutch art gallery is among the very few in Europe specializing in gay artists, editing books about some of these artists, organizing unique exhibitions (like the current one about the Diego Tolomelli stained-glass & playing cards project), and promoting gay male art in general.

Here are some works of 6 of these sculptors : Ivo Blanck, Dennis Coenraad, Antoine Timmermans, OK van Botenburg, Marcel Julius Joosen and Keith King.

Ivo Blanck

Dennis Coenraad

Antoine Timmermans

OK van Batenburg

Marcel Julius Joosen

Keith King


Galerie Mooi-Man Male art gallery
The Advocate magazine : 54 samples of the calendar
Diego Tolomelli erotic stained glass
Gay-Sculptures by Jean-Christophe 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Petit Sablon in Brussels

The Petit Sablon square in Brussels, charming public park created by the architect Henri Beyaert around 1880, is circled by 48 bronze statues illustrating the various 'corporations' or 'professions' of Brussels at that era. Each has his own distinct piedestal, and a delicate iron gate is joining all of them.

The painter - Photo Alain Michot

Inside the park, in addition to a basin with waterfall, you can admire larger statues of key Dutch Renaissance characters such as Mercator, surrounding the Egmont and Hornes counts. All these were sculpted by the most famous Belgian sculptors of the 19 century, like Jef Lambeaux, and was inaugurated by the same mayor we talked in the last post, Charles Buls.

Mercator, Dutch geograph - Photo Magie des Jardins

The knife maker

The Counts of Egmont and Hornes

Part of the 220 meters intricate grids and iron gates.

The knife maker

The glove maker - Photo Alain Michot

The fat seller - Photo Alain Michot

The watchmaker & jeweller - Photo Alain Michot

Salted fish seller - Photo Alaib Michot

The architect Henri Beyaert - Photo Alain Michot


More photos of the iron gate and grids
Detailed description of each sculpture (in French)
History of the park with old pictures and the detailed restauration