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Title

Nereida

1929-1930

Artist

Rayner Hoff

United Kingdom, Australia

1894 – 1937

Artist profile

Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
Alternate image of Nereida by Rayner Hoff
  • Details

    Other Title
    The Starveling
    Date
    1929-1930
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    bronze, marble
    Dimensions
    19.8 x 11.0 x 13.5 cm :

    a - head, 18 x 11 x 13.5 cm

    b - base, 1.8 x 7.3 x 8.5 cm, Marble base and Bronze head are attached, probably by the artist's hand. N.B. "Art in Australia, October1932" published the issue titled 'Rayner Hoff's Sculpture'. Page 17, Plate 4., shows a tall marble base, approximately 8.0 to 10.0 cm in height. No dimensions listed. However, in the book "'Sculpture of Rayner Hoff" published in 1934. Page. 51, b&w illustration shows the marble base significantly cut down in size. Between 1932 and 1934, the marble base was either cut down, or changed over.

    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of Stephen Henstock 2019. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    175.2019.a-b
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Rayner Hoff

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection

    17

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  • About

    Rayner Hoff became the most successful public sculptor of his era, and his work is closely associated with the rapid development of sculpture in Australia in the twentieth century.

    Hoff was born in England 1894 and trained under Royal Academy sculptor, Francis Derwent Wood at the Royal College of Art London. In 1922, he was awarded the Prix de Rome travelling scholarship. During his tenure in Naples, studying Renaissance and Greco-Roman art forms he was approached to teach at the East Sydney Technical College in 1923.

    In Sydney, Hoff became responsible for establishing the first coherent (European) sculpture school in this country. In his work and teachings, Hoff radically ‘modernised’ the princples of sculptural Antiquity through his commitment to the creed of Vitalism; the belief in an expression of the animated non-rational ‘life energy’ that was understood as residing in the body, and through the use of stylised devices found in Art Deco. Hoff and his students produced figures of muscular and sexual energies that were aligned to the traditions of life modelling, yet stylistically streamlined by the clear-cut, smooth surfaces of Art Deco design. Through such principles Hoff aimed to reconcile the sculpted ideal with the realities of modern life, and adapted these values across the vast scope of his practice, from monumental public commissions to the most intimate of his portrait forms.

    Nerieda, was Hoff’s youngest daughter. Born in 1929, she became affectionately known within the family as ‘The Starveling’, due to her bouts of illness and fragile health. Produced at a time when the national birth rate was alarmingly low, the cast of Neredia is touched with new life. Her physical attributes can be understood as a metaphor for her empathetic presence and demonstrate the sculptor’s Vitalist agenda. Here the streamlined emphasis of the features and the repeated linear patterns signal the life-affirming essence of this new entity.

    'Nereida' is a familial portrait reflecting the delight the newborn child brought to the Hoff household, with her birth date incised as a decorative adornment circling around the bottom of the bronze work. The strength and symbolism to be found in the essential markings of the eyes, eyelashes and brows, and of the lips and ears conjure character as well as a sense of the affection of the sculptor for his subject.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 8 publications

Other works by Rayner Hoff

See all 17 works