Malvina Cornell Hoffman (American, New York 1885–1966 New York)
21 5/8 x 8 x 10 3/4 in. (54.9 x 20.3 x 27.3 cm)
Base: 1 1/2 x 6 x 7 1/2 in. (3.8 x 15.2 x 19.1 cm)
Francis Lathrop Fund, 1934
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
Hoffman’s most important commission was a series of life-size models of the "Living Races of Man" that she began to create in 1929 for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The series ultimately included 104 single figures, groups, and busts, all cast in bronze. Hoffman’s research led her around the world, and local anthropologists helped her find models. Daboa is a lively study of a young female dancer of the Sara tribe from the Lake Chad area in northwest central Africa. The Metropolitan’s statuette is a one-third size reduction of the life-size statue in the Field Museum.
Marking: Foundry mark (back of base): Alexis Rudier
the artist, New York (1931–34; sold to MMA)
New York. Grand Central Art Galleries. "'The Races of Man' by Malvina Hoffman," January 30–February 24, 1934, no. 5 (as "Negro dancing girl, Sara tribe, Lake Chad District. Age 15").
Flint, Mich. Flint Institute of Arts. "American Sculpture, 1900–1965," April 1–25, 1965, no. 31.
Williamstown, Mass. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. "Cast in the Shadow: Models for Public Sculpture in America," October 12, 1985–January 5, 1986, no. 17.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Human Figure in Transition, 1900–1945: American Sculpture from the Museum's Collection," April 15–September 28, 1997, extended to March 29, 1998, unnum. brochure (as "Daboa [A dancing girl of the Sara Tribe, Lake Chad District, Africa]").
J[ohn]. G[oldsmith]. P[hillips]. "Statuettes by Malvina Hoffman." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (May 1934), p. 85, ill.
"55 Hoffman Sculptures Sold." Art Digest 8 (April 1, 1934), p. 18, calls it "Daboa, Dancing Girl of the Sara Tribe".
Malvina Hoffman. Heads and Tales. New York, 1936, p. 156, ill. p. 153 (unknown cast), calls it "'Daboa,' Dancing Girl of Sara Tribe, Lake Chad".
Albert TenEyck Gardner. American Sculpture: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1965, p. 160, ill.
Jennifer A. Gordon. Cast in the Shadow: Models for Public Sculpture in America. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 1985, pp. 45–47, 83, no. 17, ill., dates it 1934.
Joan M. Marter inAmerican Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Thayer Tolles. Vol. 2, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born between 1865 and 1885. New York and New Haven, 2001, p. 743, no. 372, ill.
Marianne Kinkel. Races of Mankind: The Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman. Urbana, Ill., 2011, pp. 62–63, 66, 119–20, 134, 138, 153, 192, 194, fig. 3.8 (life-size cast, Field Museum, Chicago), calls it "Negro Dancing Girl, Sara Tribe [Daboa]".