Rodin statue stolen from Israel Museum during recent renovations

Rodin statue of Balzac. Rodin statue of Balzac.

A statue by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin was stolen from the Israel Museum during renovations.

The bronze sculpture, "Naked Balzac with Folded Arms" was cast between 1892 and 1893 and was one of a series Rodin made while preparing a Paris monument to the French novelist and playwright Honore de Balzac.

The French writers guild, headed by Emile Zola, commissioned Rodin to create a monument to Balzac in 1891. Rodin worked on the project for eight years and cast several statues of Balzac, some of which are on display in museums throughout the world. The final version of the sculpture is at the monument, on Raspail Boulevard in Paris.

Art historian Stephanie Rahum wrote in her book on Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in the Israel Museum collection that Rodin considered the memorial his most important and daring work.

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