The second Rodin Museum

There is not only the Rodin Museum – Hôtel Biron - on rue de Varenne in Paris, but there is another one at Meudon, a close suburb. I wrote about the first one a long time ago on my previous blog (see here) and visited the second one, at Meudon, for a first time last week. 

It actually had a special significance as it was on the 100th anniversary of Rodin’s death. There was a ceremony held (which I’m not reporting about) – he and his wife are buried here, under another cast of his famous “The Thinker” (see top picture). Mentioning his wife, Rose Beuret, it may be interesting to know that after having always been there, despite August’s different “adventures”, the couple finally got married in January 1917, Rose died a month later and August a few months later.

You can thus visit what was his home from 1895 until his death in November 1917 – the “Villa des Brillants”. Different donations and restorations make it today possible to get an impression of what his home looked like, the dining room with a painting by his friend J-J Henner (see my previous post), bedroom… We should know that some of the paintings that you now can find at the Paris Museum, by Renoir, van Gogh and others, those days decorated his Meudon home.

We should also know that Rodin donated everything to the French State, against the promise that the museum(s) should be created.

Then there is of course also his working studio.  We can compare with some photos from the beginning of the 20th century, one with his (future) wife, two dogs and his then secretary, the famous poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rodin installed a separate building, partly brought here from his personal exposition pavilion during the 1900 World’s Fair, improved by the facade of a nearby castle (Château d’Issy) which had been in ruin since 1871. There were at certain times some 50 people working here, including a lot of assistants for plaster, casting… Rodin seems also to have travelled to his Paris “Hôtel Biron” more or less every day, where there was also a great activity. 
The plaster versions, several versions, pre-studies, of some of his most famous works can now be seen in the pavilion, e.g. “The Kiss”, “Balzac”, “The Burgers of Calais”, “The Gates of Hell”, “Victor Hugo”….  

… and also “The Age of Bronze” - among his first works (1877). There is a lot to be said about this sculpture, (there is even a photo of the model, August Neyt, to be found on the net), how Rodin was – falsely - suspected of casting on the living model, how he may have been inspired by Michelangelo’s “The Slave” (which also inspired an architect on a Paris post office building on which I posted here), how the name of the statue was changed… , but after having been exposed in Paris in 1877, “The Age of Bronze” clearly contributed to the beginning of a fantastic career.


Virginia said...

This was a highlight this trip, Peter. I"ve always loved the Musée Rodin in Paris but this was a lovely side trip.

Jeanie said...

I had no idea. This is fascinating and indeed, a wonderful side trip. Thanks, peter!

Anonymous said...

I have never been excited by either the work or the life of this most revered artist...

Even in my old age, I can't get rid of the doubt of where his work ends and that of the ill-fated Camille Claudel begins...

What I never have a doubt is of how beautiful your photography always is!

I love those trees that still retain their leaves! Will it still be like it when I arrive in Paris, in just a few days?

Thanks for this post, Peter.