cover of book

Races of Mankind: The Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman
by Marianne Kinkel
University of Illinois Press, 2011
Cloth: 978-0-252-03624-8
Library of Congress Classification NB237.H55K46 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 730.92

In 1930, Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History commissioned sculptor Malvina Hoffman to produce three-dimensional models of racial types for an anthropology display called The Races of Mankind. Marianne Kinkel’s cultural biography of the long-running exhibition measures how Hoffman’s ninety-one bronze and stone sculptures impacted perceptions of race in twentieth-century visual culture. Kinkel looks at how Hoffman's collaborations with curators and anthropologists transformed the commission from a traditional physical anthropology display into a fine art exhibit. She also tracks appearances of statuettes of the works in New York and Paris exhibitions and looks at how publishers used images of the sculptures to illustrate atlases, maps, and encyclopedias. The volume concludes with the dismantling of the exhibit in 1969 and the Field Museum’s redeployment of some of the sculptures in new educational settings.

A fascinating cultural history, Races of Mankind examines how we continually re-negotiate the veracity of race through collaborative processes involved in the production, display, and circulation of visual representations.

Nearby on shelf for Sculpture / History: