With over 140 bronzes, marbles, and plasters, the distinguished collection housed in the Rodin Museum represents every phase of Auguste Rodin's career. Open to the public in 1929, this remarkable ensemble of architecture, landscape, and sculpture, designed by architect Paul Cret and landscape architect Jacques Gréber, is now restored to its original splendor. The museum and grounds offer a unique ensemble of Beaux-Arts architecture and a formal French garden in which to experience the sculpture of Auguste Rodin.
Backstory and Context
The inaugural installation of the restored Rodin Museum includes nearly thirty works focusing on the towering bronze doors inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy that have occupied the building's portico since 1929. In 1880 Rodin received a commission to create The Gates of Hell for a new decorative arts museum that was going to be built in Paris. Though the museum was never realized, The Gates became the seminal work of Rodin's career and a key to understanding his artistic aims. Left in plaster at Rodin's death in 1917, the first bronze casts of The Gates of Hellwere made for Jules Mastbaum, the founder of the Rodin Museum; one appears here and the second was given to the Musée Rodin in Paris.Some of Rodin's most famous works were originally conceived as part of The Gates and were only later removed, enlarged, and cast as independent works. The Thinker evolved from the focal point atop The Gates into a freestanding sculpture. Though the monumental-sized Thinker maintains its prominent place in the garden, a smaller version can be seen in this gallery. Also on view is Copy of Rodin's "The Kiss", a marble depicting doomed lovers Paolo and Francesca, who reside in the second circle of hell in The Divine Comedy. Created especially for the Museum by sculptor Henri Gréber (French, 1855–1941), Copy of Rodin's "The Kiss" suits the main gallery of the Rodin Museum exceptionally well and demonstrates Jules Mastbaum's vision for the Museum as a place where the breadth of Rodin's work could become more widely known and appreciated.