Tip of the Hat: Malvina Hoffman puts on the white cap

By Kelly Quinn
October 28, 2013
Photograph of Malvina Hoffman

Kelly Quinn, the Terra Foundation Project Manager for Online Scholarly and Educational Initiatives, introduces a new series, Tip of the Hat, which takes a light-hearted look at artists and their headgear.

Photograph of Malvina Hoffman
Malvina Hoffman, 1921 / Edith M. White, photographer. Miscellaneous photographs collection, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Malvina Hoffman (1887–1966) was an American sculptor and author. At age fourteen, she studied at the Art Students League in New York. And later, after moving to Europe with her mother, she studied with Auguste Rodin and Ivan Mestrovic. She also worked as a studio assistant to Janet Scudder.

Hoffman is perhaps best known for Races of Mankind, a series of sculpture that she completed for Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History in 1933.

She also published three books Heads and Tales (1936), a travelogue, Sculpture Inside and Out (1939), a manual, and Yesterday is Tomorrow (1965) her autobiography.

We at the Archives are especially inspired by her fashion sense and penchant for accessories including a hat. In this snapshot taken by Edith M. White, Hoffman wore a white beret which, with apologies to Prince, we like to think she bought in a second hand store.


Kelly Quinn is the Terra Foundation Project Manager for Online Scholarly and Educational Initiatives at the Archives of American Art.


hahaha is awesome!
Thanks for the post

Great woman!
She was highly skilled in foundry techniques as well, often casting her own works and she published a definite work on historical and technical aspects of sculpture.

:) Very funny.............