Travis Nygard, Art Historian > Malvina Hoffman Exhibition > Chronology

Malvina Hoffman in her studio.
Malvina Hoffman in her studio.

Malvina and Mortality

Introduction | Normative Death | Violent Death | Ideal Death

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1885  – Malvina Hoffman was born.

1906  – She takes classes from Herbert Adams and George Grey Barnard at the Veltin School.

1906  – She created her first sculpture, titled Despair—a response to a friend’s death.

c.1907-1909 — She studies under the direction of John White Alexander, the painter who created the murals in the grand staircase of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

1909 – A portrait of her father was displayed at the National Academy of Design in their annual exhibition.

1910  – She travels to Europe and studies with the sculptor Rodin.

1911 – Her portrait of her father was included in the Paris Salon at the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts.

1914 – She returns to Paris to study with Rodin for a summer.

1914 — World War I began.

1914 – She holds a sale in her studio, which Henry Clay Frick attends.  He commissions her to create a portrait of his daughter Helen.

1910 — She visited John Keats's grave and created a sketch of his ghost.

1917 — World War I ended.

1919 — She volunteers for the Red Cross feeding war orphans in the Balkans.

Malvina and Mortality Display Case.
Malvina and Mortality, exhibition display case.
Photograph by Travis Nygard.

1923 — She had a solo exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

1923 – She finished her bust of Keats, owned by the University.

1924 — She married Sam Grimson. 

1924 – By this point in her career she was highly celebrated, and numerous museums own her work, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the American Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1930 — Henry Field, curator and grandnephew of the Field Museum's founder Marshall Field, commissions Hoffman to create a series of sculptures representing the “races of  mankind.”

1933 – The Hall of Races display at the Field Museum opened.

1936 — She gets a “Reno divorce" from Sam Grimson.

1939 -- World War II begins.

1940 — Exhibited small replicas of the sculptures from the Hall of Races, along with new work, at the University of Pittsburgh. 

1942 – She lends the replicas of the sculptures from the Hall of Races to the Coordinating Council for French Relief Societies (an organization best known for an event a few months later –  the Papers of Surrealism exhibition by Marcel Duchamp and Andre Breton that brought surrealism to the United States).  

Malvina Hoffman, "The Races of Mankind," in Encyclopedia Americana.
Malvina Hoffman, "The Races of Mankind,"
in Encyclopedia Americana, 1950s.
Collection of Ken Neal.
Photograph by Travis Nygard.

1945 -- World War II ends.

1948 – She created a sculpture of "the angel of death and the dying soldier – ‘the trumpets sounding’" for the American War Memorial Building in northern France.

1960s – The Hall of Races displayed at the Field Museum was criticized for reflecting an outdated understanding of cultures and race, and was dispersed throughout the museum.

1964 – Helen Clay Frick commissions a portrait medallion of her father from Hoffman for the façade of the Fine Arts Building at the University of Pittsburgh.

1965 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross begins her research on death by interviewing terminally ill patients.

1965 — She created the relief of Henry Clay Frick on the façade of this building.

1966 — Malvina Hoffman dies.

1969 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross publishes the highly influential book On Death and Dying, which asserted that stages of denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are part of the dying process.

Introduction | Normative Death | Violent Death | Ideal Death

Chronology | Checklist | Sources | Press Release