R is for Real Rodin?

Back in the fall of 2005 at the Albany [NY] Institute of History and Art, my wife and I saw this lovely exhibit of the works of Auguste Rodin called Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession, which was billed as “a complete retrospective…

“The exhibition spans the length of Rodin’s career from his earliest bust of his father, Jean Baptiste Rodin, to his later studies of dancing figures. In addition to the bronzes, there are works on paper, photographs, portraits of the artist, and an educational model that demonstrates the complexities of the lost-wax casting process, Rodin’s favored method of sculptural reproduction.”

I remember seeing a version of piece called The Thinker. I’d viewed pictures of it many times, and it looked nice. But seeing it in person, I thought it was one of the most sensual items I had ever seen in my life!

As it turns out, though, there was some controversy over the show presented by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation over an eight-year span. As noted in this lengthy and detailed blogpost, the exhibition “contains at best a half-a-dozen or so non-disclosed reproductions – with fifty-four of them being absolute outright fakes.

“An example of one of these non-disclosed fakes is the…Monumental Head of Balzac. In the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation’s 2001 Rodin A Magnificent Obsession catalogue, it is also listed as ‘cast 9/12 in 1980’ and ‘Signed and numbered A. Rodin.’ Since Auguste Rodin died in 1917, some sixty-three years earlier, how’d he do that?”

This was disappointing, of course, but it was so in retrospect, some three years after we saw the show. Meanwhile, the booklet and the film of his life that was shown, not to mention the irrefutable Rodin pieces that were shown, still made the visit worthwhile.

In any case, THE best webpage about Rodin that I’ve come across is this NotSorry.com page with LOTS of useful links.

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

0 thoughts on “R is for Real Rodin?”

  1. What an interesting post about Rodin, Roger! Thanks for the info! I do love much of his work and today I learned some things I didn’t know! Of course, there are a lot of things I don’t know so I’m always happy to visit your blog because it’s always informative! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!

    ABC Team


  2. In1960 my mum and I were in Paris and saw the Rodin Museum. We saw among other statues theThinker and also the Kiss. We also heard that some of the statues were made by Rodin’s students and to honour him they asked him to sign their work, which he did if he found it good enough. All in all it was very impressive and so is your post, Roger!


  3. What an interesting post today. I’m sorry to say I don’t think I have ever heard of Rodin before. I have however, seen pictures of The Thinker before, just never knew the artist.


  4. Thanks for making me pull my art history lessons from the recesses of my memory! I agree The Thinker is a masterful piece of art. I’m not sure the world turns out true artisans like these anymore.


  5. Fascinating post, Roger, especially as I didn’t get to the Rodin Museum when we were staying nearby in March. My husband says we’re going to go back to Paris, however.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel


  6. Amazing information about the fakery! I’ve seen his work and have always enjoyed it – now I wonder…? I think I’ll check out Camille’s work, as noted by Paula in the comment above. Thanks for a wonderful post!


  7. He was a real genius ! He lived for 6 years in Brussels and did a sculpture on “La Bourse” the stock market building in Brussels. There are other sculptures from him he did for rich people’s gardens !


  8. A very interesting entry for R day! Rodin was a great artist but my admiration goes to Camille!
    Thanks for sharing, Owen;o)

    Have a nice and happy day****


  9. What a shame it was not a well curated exhibition. Guess each piece has to stand on its own and ones response to it, whether fake or real.


  10. Great post Roger. I’ve read about some of the controversy since the NC Museum of art has a new Rodin Garden and indoor exhibition that was a gift from the Cantor foundation and is part of our permanent exhibition.


  11. The Thinker has always been one of my favourite statues. Great post for the week! (Loved your opening for ABC Wed.!


  12. Very interesting post, as usual, Roger. I do have a certain admiration for the artist who can copy so well since I could not even do that. I thank the Art Institute of Chicago for introducing me to Rodin (the Walking Man, Eve after the Fall) back in college. Do you know the sculpture Ivan Mestrovic?


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