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Rayner George Hoff, Sculptor (1894-1937)

Born in England, Hoff arrived in Australia in 1923 and dominated Australian sculpture until his death. He is best known for his Sydney ANZAC memorial (1931-34). Hoff employed Art Deco to modernise classical forms. A 1925 marble portrait bust of Hoff by Ken Lye is held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sharples 1990, p.21).

Hoff studied at the Nottingham School of Art before migrating to Australia in 1923. He taught drawing and sculpture at Sydney Technical College. In the year of his arrival he produced his first Australian medal: for the Society of Artists. The medal was well in advance of Australian medal work at this time and introduced new ideas to the Australian scene. Hoff only produced seven medals in Australia, preferring to focus on his sculptural work. He is best remembered for his controversial medal to commemorate Melbourne's centenary, symbolising the wool industry with the skull of a sheep. Victorian Premier Stanley Argyle was furious, and even suggested that the medal was a joke being played on Victoria by New South Wales. Others commended its skill and form.

Hoff died in 1937.

References:
Sharples, John P. (1990) Medals as Art: Australia and the Meszaros Tradition, Australia, p.21.

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