Copper in the Arts

April 2017

French Sculptor Auguste Rodin Celebrated throughout North America and beyond with Rodin100 Tour

Auguste Rodin, Fallen Caryatid with UrnAuguste Rodin, Fallen Caryatid with Urn

Photograph courtesy of Rodin100

In 2017 several major North American art museums are celebrating the centenary of Auguste Rodin’s (1840–1917) death with traveling exhibitions, permanent collection installations, and a robust program of educational activities. Unified under #Rodin100 and joining a worldwide series of major Rodin projects, these public programs and exhibitions are bringing together new information about the groundbreaking French sculptor.

An exhibition called Rodin: The Human Experience will be traveling to the Portland Art Museum, the Flint Institute of the Arts, and the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia throughout the summer and fall months. This comprehensive selection of 52 bronzes demonstrate Rodin’s particular passion for modeling the human form in clay, the medium in which his hand and mind are most directly evidenced. While Rodin’s works always remained faithful to nature, he departed from traditional practice in seeking to reveal the creative process.

The bronzes on view represent major achievements throughout Rodin’s career. They include powerful studies for The Burghers of Calais, as well as works derived from his masterpiece The Gates of Hell. Among works demonstrating his experimentation with assemblage is The Night (Double Figure), while other works on view, such as Monumental Torso of the Walking Man, demonstrate his admiration for Michelangelo or, as in Dance Movement D, speak to his interest in understanding how the body moves.

The exhibition is especially rich in portraiture. Included are Rodin’s renowned depictions of the writers Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac; the composer Gustav Mahler; the artist Claude Lorrain; one of his favorite dancers, Hanako; and The Creator, which is likely a self-portrait.

Rodin’s deft skill in using the bronze-casting technique to represent living flesh and his interest in expressing extreme psychological states were highly influential upon younger artists, both in Europe and America. The exhibition reveals why the artist is considered the crucial link between traditional and modern sculpture.

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Rodin100, on view at several museums across the United States, and the world.

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