Christopher Menz reviews 'Rayner Hoff: The life of a sculptor' by Deborah Beck

Christopher Menz reviews 'Rayner Hoff: The life of a sculptor' by Deborah Beck

Rayner Hoff: The life of a sculptor

by Deborah Beck

NewSouth, $49.99 pb, 280 pp, 9781742235325

Rayner Hoff, the most significant sculptor to work in Australia between the wars, is most admired for his sculptures in the Anzac war memorials in Sydney and Adelaide. His work was in the classical figurative tradition in which he had trained. While never part of the international avant-garde, he remained modern for his era and adapted to the idiom of art deco. Hoff’s work is known to all Australians through a logo depicting a lion with its paw on a ball, which he designed for Holden in Adelaide in 1927. While his name may be unfamiliar to many people, the Holden lion mascot, instantly recognisable even in its modified form, is still in use today. Now ninety, the Holden insignia is one of the great examples of Australian logo branding; at a time when so many cars are indistinguishable, the mascot is still the easiest way to identify a Holden.

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Published in November 2017, no. 396
Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia (2005–10) and in 2011–12 was Acting Director of The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne. Prior to these roles, he held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria, specialising in decorative arts. He has published extensively on the decorative arts, notably the design work of William Morris, and is a regular contributor to ABR.