23 September 2006—1 January 2007
In the Main Galleries, Burlington House
Auguste Rodin, The Kiss, 1901-4 Pentelic marble, executed by Ganier, Rigaud and Mathet. 182.2 x 121.9 x 153 cm.
French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) heralded the modern age. His achievement is celebrated in this major retrospective. Ten chronological themes explore Rodin’s inspiration, from his studies of unposed models to his love of antiquities. The exhibition is organised like a journey. It begins with Rodin’s early contacts and first recognition, introduces his special relationship with Britain, and explores how the support of a few artists, writers, business men, politicians and aristocrats led to recognition by an international public. The Gates of Hell and a large version of The Thinker feature amongst 300 pieces of the highest quality, borrowed mainly from the Musée Rodin and the sculptor’s home in Meudon, France. Rodin’s lyrical, erotic drawings and tiny clay sketches are shown alongside period photographs of his work and many large plasters which have never before been exhibited outside France.
The story of Rodin and Britain – the sub-theme of this exhibition – begins with Rodin’s first visit to London in the summer of 1881, shortly after he had received the commission for The Gates of Hell. He came to visit Alphonse Legros, a fellow student at the Petite Ecole, who introduced him to the poet William Ernest Henley. Henley was soon to become the editor-in-chief of the Magazine of Art and began telling his readership that Rodin was ‘perhaps the greatest of living sculptors’. In 1882 Rodin exhibited the Bust of St John the Baptist at the Royal Academy of Arts and other works in the Grosvenor and Dudley Galleries. The enthusiasm of early collectors such as Constantine Ionides and Lord Leighton, President of the Royal Academy, helped to raise Rodin’s profile and he soon had a group of loyal English students and collectors.
This exhibition has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and the Kunsthaus Zürich in collaboration with the Musée Rodin, Paris.
We’re delighted to be working with the Royal Academy of Arts on the Rodin exhibition. Ernst & Young has been supporting the arts for over twelve years and it has become an integral part of our culture.
Rodin promises to be a remarkable exhibition – a fascinating combination of Rodin’s most beloved masterpieces, shown alongside work that have never before been seen outside of the sculptor’s native France.
Long-term, sustained support of the arts is important to us as we believe strongly in giving back to the community. We continue to promote our Art Matters initiative with NCH, which aims to release the creative potential of the young people NCH serves. Through purchasing work for our corporate art collection we also help support upcoming artists. We are proud to be associated with Rodin and are certain that this exciting exhibition will raise awareness of his genius to a UK audience.
Mark Otty, UK chairman of Ernst & Young