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Australian art

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Australian Venus

(circa 1927)


Rayner Hoff

United Kingdom, Australia

1894 - 1937


In Hoff's artistic practice, the body became the primary metaphor for a modern Australian identity, based on the classical perfections of the ancient Greek model, and imaged as a virile product of the nation’s outdoor environment. Australian Venus exemplifies Hoff’s ‘national body’. It presents the figure as a classically fragmented yet sensualised, naturalistic form, and imbued with a sexual tension with which Hoff defined the entire path of his sculptural oeuvre.



(circa 1927)

Media category


Materials used

Angaston marble


114.5 x 33.0 x 21.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of Mr S.H. Ervin 1938

Accession number


Artist information

Rayner Hoff

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 7 publications


Deborah Beck, Look, 'Venus unveiled', Sydney, Nov 2017-Dec 2017, 59 (colour illus.).

Body culture: Max Dupain, photography and Australian culture, 1919-1939, 'Are you an Australian Apollo?', pg. 100-128, Mulgrave, 2004, 118, 119 (colour illus.), 120.

Elizabeth Cross, The Naked and the Nude, 'The Naked and the Nude', pg. 16-29, Ballarat, 2008, 23, 89 (colour illus.), 133.

Deborah Edwards, 'This vital flesh': the sculpture of Rayner Hoff and his school, 'Australia, the new Greece: the body as nation', 30-51., Sydney, 1999, 31, 33 (colour illus.), 34, 38-39, 102. 22

Deborah Edwards, Art and Australia (Vol. 24, No. 1), '"This vital flesh": the 1920s sculpture of Rayner Hoff', pg. 62-68, Sydney, Spring 1986, 63 (illus.), 65.

Deborah Edwards, Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art, 'The New Greece / 'Delos of a coming Sun-god's race'', pg. 31-54, Sydney, Sep 1989, 40 (illus.), 65.

Liz Gibson, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'Rayner Hoff / Arthur Murch', pg. 60-71, Sydney, 2002, 64 (colour illus.), 65, 69, 144, 147.