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Tuesday, 24 November 2015 09:49

A Major Rodin Exhibition Opens in Virginia

An exhibition honoring the creative genius of master sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts through March 13, 2016. Drawn primarily from collections of the Musée Rodin, Paris, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition brings together more than 200 objects – fragile plasters, patinated bronzes, marbles, ceramics and works on paper – and examines the artist’s creative process. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about Rodin’s techniques, materials, models, and assistants, and to explore the artistic vision behind some of his best known works – including The Kiss, The Thinker, and The Burghers of Calais.

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The Rodin Museum in Paris is set to reopen on November 12 following a three year, €16 million ($17.4 million) renovation. The reopening coincides with what would have been Auguste Rodin's 175th birthday.

The French artist created some of the best-known sculptures in art history, including The Thinker (1902), The Burghers of Calais (1884-1889) and The Kiss (1882-1889).

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The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio from May 30 to October 18, 2015. Produced and circulated in the United States by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Musée Rodin in Paris, this exhibition features close to 300 works. The largest Rodin exhibition ever presented in Canada, it includes masterpieces that are being shown for the first time in North America.

Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio includes special loans from the Musée Rodin, including original studio plasters of the masterpieces The Thinker and The Walking Man, along with Eve and the large Meditation, and a number of splendid vessels and flowers.

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An iconic painting by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was the top lot at Sotheby’s auction of Impressionist and Modern Art yesterday, May 8, 2013 in New York. Les Pommes (1889-90), a still life of apples on a table, sold for $41.6 million, exceeding its high pre-sale estimate of $35 million. The second highest earning work at the auction was Amedeo Modigliani’s (1840-1929) L’Amazone, a well-known portrait of Baroness Marguerite de Hasse de Villers, which sold for $25.9 million falling within its presale estimate of $20 to $30 million. Both of the works were from the collection of philanthropists Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt and will fund a foundation set up in their honor to contribute to their favorite causes including animal welfare.

Other major sales included a Fernand Léger (1881-1955) painting previously owned by Madonna, Trois Femmes a la Table Rouge, which sold for $7.2 million (estimate: $5-7 million); a Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) sculpture of his muse Sylvette, which garnered $13.6 million (estimate: $12-$18 million); and three bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin (1840-1916) including a version of his famed The Thinker, which brought $15.3 million (estimate: $8-$12 million).

The total sale netted over $230 million, just under the pre-sale high estimate of $235.1 million.

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Sotheby’s will present three early bronzes from Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) pivotal The Gates of Hell at its Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on May 7, 2013 in New York. The three casts are part of a renowned private collection and include a rare, early cast of The Thinker (1906), which is expected to garner anywhere from $8 million to $12 million.

The cast of The Thinker was made by the Alexis Rudier foundry in Paris and was commissioned directly from the artist by the publishing tycoon, Ralph Pulitzer. The sculpture features a plaque stating that it was made for Pulitzer under Rodin’s immediate supervision. The other casts included in the Impressionist and Modern Art auction are Rodin’s beloved The Kiss (1909) and Ugolino and His Children (1883), which was only cast three times during Rodin’s lifetime.

The Directorate of Fine Arts commissioned The Gates of Hell, which was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, in 1880. The project was originally expected to take five years but Rodin spent 37 years working intermittently on what would become the defining sculpture of his career. While The Gates of Hell was never fully realized, many of Rodin’s most notable sculptures are related to the single and multi-figure works he created for the commission.

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