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.
114.5 x 33.0 x 21.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of Mr S.H. Ervin 1938
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Sculpture of Rayner Hoff: Memorial Exhibition, David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 19 May 1938–04 Jun 1938
Celebrity Choice - Sam Neill, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Jan 1987–08 Feb 1987
Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art 1890's-1930's, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Oct 1989–26 Nov 1989
'This vital flesh': the sculpture of Rayner Hoff and his school, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Nov 1999–16 Jan 2000
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
The naked and the nude, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat, 13 Sep 2008–07 Dec 2008
Referenced in 7 publications
Deborah Beck, Look, 'Venus unveiled', Sydney, 2017, 59 (colour illus.).
Isobel Crombie, 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. cat.no. 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.