Rayner Hoff’s work highlighted with new stamps

The new collection of stamps issued by the Isle of Man.

The new collection of stamps issued by the Isle of Man.

He also designed the sculptures that adorn the building as well as contributing to war memorials in Adelaide and Dubbo.

Hoff biographer Deborah Beck said the significance of “Australia’s greatest sculptor” was slowly being reassessed.

“Hoff, his wife Annis and their baby daughter emigrated to Australia in 1923 – and he shaped the memorials where many of us congregate to commemorate our fallen war-dead every Anzac Day and Remembrance Day,” she said.

“Hoff went on to influence the Australian art world in a profound way. However, 80 years after his death, his name is largely forgotten.”

Hoff enlisted in the British Army in 1916, aged 21. Somehow, in the middle of the horror, his artistic skills were recognised.

So, instead of fighting in the treacherous trenches of the Western Front, he drew highly detailed maps from aerial photographs of trench positions at Passchendaele and the Somme.

This weekend, Hoff’s sculptures at the Anzac Memorial, designed by architect Bruce Dellit, will receive their annual burst of attention during Remembrance Day.

The public will also get their first opportunity to see the extended $40 million Hall of Service exhibition space under the memorial that features artwork by photographer and sculptor Fiona Hall.

But, without wishing to take anything away from Hall, Beck urges visitors also to spend some time contemplating Hoff’s original works.

“Dellit and Hoff worked closely on the design and placement of the 37 sculptures,” she said. “They were made in Hoff’s large private studio at the National Art School, where he employed six students to work with him for three years.

“The memorial created by Dellit and Hoff is now recognised as a masterwork of Art Deco design.”

Beyond his monumental work in Hyde Park and elsewhere, Hoff is also responsible for an image seen daily by most Australians – he designed the “lion rolling a stone” emblem adopted in 1928 by Holden.

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