Mabel Conkling (American, 1871-1966)
Vase with Three Figural Handles; Bronze; Signed "MABEL CONKLING" with foundry mark "Kunst Foundry NY; 12 1/4" high; Provenance: The Collection of Paul Nassau, New York
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
A full condition report has yet to be completed for this lot. Please contact the auction house for more information. Please be advised that condition reports are often updated during preview. Please be sure to check for updated condition reports the day of the sale, as there may have been a change or addition.
This lot comes from the personal collection of the late Paul Nassau.
Mr. Nassau was the son of Lillian Nassau, the pioneering dealer
in the work of Tiffany Studios and the Art Nouveau and Art Deco
periods. After joining his mother’s firm in the early 1970s, Mr.
Nassau sought to diversify its holdings by focusing his expertise
on American sculpture. Impressed by the Hoffman sculptures in
the famous Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge auction at Sotheby’s in
1975, he purchased three from the sale. These and other works by
Hoffman were a focal point of Mr. Nassau’s personal collection.
Malvina Hoffman was a successful and celebrated American
woman sculptor in a period dominated by men. Born in
Brooklyn, New York in 1887, Hoffman enrolled in classes at the
Art Students League when she was only fourteen, studying
under Gutzon Borglum. After the death of her father in 1910,
she moved to Paris where she worked with Auguste Rodin for
four years. In 1929, she was commissioned by Stanley Field,
President of the Field Museum in Chicago, to undertake an
unprecedented project: documenting the diversity of humanity
through sculpture for the Field Museum’s Hall of Man. The 104
sculptures Hoffman produced after years of travel and study are
considered her masterpiece and compose the largest corpus
of her work. The original installation, reflecting its time, viewed
human cultural evolution as progressive and displayed Hoffman’s
works as such, from “primitive” cultures to “civilized” Europeans;
it was de-installed in 1969. Now, 50 of these masterly works are
on view again in Looking at Ourselves, Rethinking the Sculptures
of Malvina Hoffman, a new exhibition that places her fine art in
a scientific historical context for the first time.