Male Torso


Dorothy Austin ( American, 1911 - 2011 )

c. late 1930s–early 1940s
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General Description

After training in Philadelphia and New York, Dorothy Austin returned to her hometown of Dallas and began a series of male and female torsos, of which the Museum's fine Male Torso is a stellar example. The Dallas Morning News cautioned 1933 audiences, "The timid may be somewhat startled at the directness with which the young sculptor went about the business of representing a male torso."

The smooth, shiny surface of this relatively compact figure contrasts with its powerful, incised musculature. The nudity and missing appendages are reminiscent of Greek sculpture, particularly Attic kouros figures.

Drawn from

  • Eleanor Jones Harvey, DMA Acquisition proposal (1994.175), March 2001.

  • William Keyse Rudolph, DMA Label copy (1994.175), August 2008.

  • Rick Stewart, Lone Star Regionalism: The Dallas Nine and their Circle, 1928-1945 (Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press, 1985).

Fun Facts

  • "Her hobbies are Chinese poetry and the serving of chicken piloff suppers in her studio." [italics in original] (Esse F. O'Brien, Art and Artists of Texas (Dallas, 1935), 239.)

  • A sculpture of grace and masculine strength, Male Torso held a special place in Austin’s memory. In the words of the artist, “My model for the mahogany torso was a lovely Mexican named Austin Barbosa. He was the model for the Indian at the Hall of State. When we had our reunion for the Centennial art project, he came right up to me and said, ‘Miss Austin, where is my torso?’”