102: Set Of 8 Malvina Hoffman Plasters Pavlova
AN IMPRESSIVE AND IMPORTANT GROUP OF 8 FRIEZE PANELS BY MALVINA CORNELL HOFFMAN (AMERICAN 1887-1996), "Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Mordkin performing Alexander Glazunov's ballet 'Bacchanale'", 1911-1914, each cast plaster with silver and bronze polychroming, of varying sizes, 3 measuring c. 114.3 x 111.8 cm (45 x 44 in.), 2 measuring c.114.3 x 91.4 cm (45 x 36 in.), 1 measuring c.114.3 x 134.6 cm (45 x 53 in.), 1 measuring c.124.5 x 101.6 cm (49 x 40 in.), and 1 measuring c. 124.5 x 83.8 cm (49 x 33 in.) PROVENANCE: The Studio of Malvina Cornell Hoffman; Charles Lamson Hoffman (Brother of the artist); Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa; Private Collection, New York. RELATED LITERATURE: Janis Conner, "A Dancer in Relief (The last student of August Rodin)"; Alexandre, Arsčne, "Malvina Hoffman," J.E. Pouterman, Éditeur, Paris 1930; Connor, Janis, and Joel Rosenkranz, "Rediscoveries in American Sculpture – Studio Works, 1893 – 1939," University of Texas Press: Austin, 1989; Field, Henry, "The Races of Mankind, Sculptures by Malvina Hoffman," Anthropology Leaflet 30, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago 1937; Field Museum (January 1979) "The Legacy of Malvina Hoffman". Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin; Hill, May Brawley, "The Woman Sculptor, Malvina Hoffman and Her Contemporaries," The Bearley School 1984; Hoffman, Malvina, "Heads and Tales" Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, NY 1936; Hoffman, Malvina, "Sculpture Inside and Out," Bonanza Books, NY, NY 1939; Hoffman, Malvina, "Yesterday Is Tomorrow," Crown Publishers, Inc. NY, NY 1965; Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, "Hunting Hoffman in the Field Museum," unpublished manuscript; Rubinstein, Charlotte Streifer, "American Women Sculptors" G.K. Hall & Co. Boston 1990.Please note: Due to their weight and fragility, these pieces are sold in "as-is" condition. Some condition issues such as cracks or chips to the plaster may not be apparent in the photographs on the website. These magnificent frieze panels were made by the celebrated American sculptor Malvina Cornell Hoffman, one of the few students of Auguste Rodin. Hoffman originally studied sculpture in New York with Herbert Adams and Gutzon Borglum, and upon her arrival in Paris in 1910, and after several unsuccessful attempts, she was eventually accepted by Rodin as his student. Hoffman would go on become a very famous artist, and her sculptural talents were especially celebrated for her depictions of the legendary Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Mordkin were already performing in New York as of March of 1910. Appreciation for ballet had not yet developed in the United States during these early years, which was to rapidly change with Pavlova’s arrival with Mordkin. Mikhail Mordkin had joined Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1909 as a leading dancer, and after the first season he remained in Paris to dance with Pavlova. He formed his own company, “the All Star Imperial Russian Ballet,” which would then go on to tour the U.S. with Pavlova. Her elegance and technical wizardry entranced American audiences and created a veritable furor for ballet.Of all the ballets which Pavlova and Mordkin danced together, their greatest success in the U.S., as well as their subsuequent tour of England, cam with their performance of Alexander Glazunov’s “Bacchanale.” There exist numerous contemporary descriptions and photographs of the performance. It would begin with Pavlova flying to the scene in Mordkin’s arms, clinging to each other while Mordkin held high above his head a large translucent cloth of a fiery crimson color. He was wearing a short tunic, his thick, curly hair adorned with a wreath, and open sandals on his legs. Pavlova would also be dressed in a tunic, but long and with a pattern on the head, designed with grapes, leaves, and ribbons. The dance would proceed with a rapid pace, with many stops and lifts. She looked into his eyes, pressed against him, fell into his arms as if in ecstasy, with him throwing his head back. The artists seemed drunk with wine and passion. He tried to hold her in his arms – she slipped away, teasing. They kissed and ran away again. Some review mentioned that they were throwing armfuls of flowers at each other. In “Bacchanale,” Mordkin would perform his signature number, which involved dancing with a bow and arrow. His legs would be bare, with bracelets on his ankles, the variation consisting of jumps and heroic poses, exposing the powerful muscles covering his bronzed tan body. Later, just for America, Mordkin would change the name of this “Dancing with bow and Arrow” variation to “Dance of the Indians,” and would put on his head a huge headdress of feathers, which, according to the newspapers, he had purchased from the Sioux tribal leader. Reviewers of the day never tired of describing him in great detail, calling him a “young Greek God” and a “gladiator,” comparing him with statues from antiquity and repeatedly stressing his manliness and strength. Next to him, Pavlova seemed especially light and airy. They were a perfect complement, infecting each other with enthusiasm, and sincerely taking a great interest in the scene.