AUGUSTE RODIN - his life, his work (6)


Rodin continues working on the statue of Balzac and now models after a more athletic person.
He continues to support Camille from a distance, by referring her to Félix Faure, President of the Republic, but Camille rejects the invitation, pretending she "wouldn´t have a thing to put on for such an occasion".
Exhibition at the Museum Rath in Genf; Rodin donates three sculptures to the museum.
He works on the sculpture of the Argentinian President Sarmiento.


Balzac, plasterScandal about the statue of Balzac: it provokes the public's displeasure because of the association with an erected phallus; other cynical reactions interpret the Balzac as Narcissus, who masturbates under his protecting coat. As a matter of fact, Rodin had created a nude study of Balzac with a stiff penis in his left hand, before he had started covering him with cloth.
The Balzac statue also is the occasion for his last correspondence with Camille by the end of 1897. Camille further develops her own style of narrative sculpture, but feels she is not accepted as Rodin's peer by the artistic establishment.
Maurice Fenaille publishes his first essay about 142 drawings of Rodin with a preface by Octave Mirbeau.


Foundation of the Secession of Vienna


Rodin exhibits the 'Balzac' and 'The Kiss' in the Galérie des Machines at the Champ des Mars.
Eternal Springtime The Société des Gens de Lettres, no longer presided by Rodin's supporter Zola, rejects the sculpture of Balzac; an intense press campaign arises against Rodin; but others defend him and the art collector Auguste Pellerin offers to purchase the plaster. In the end, Rodin sells his Balzac plaster neither to his friends, who in his eyes are too much associated with the Dreyfus camp, nor to Pellerin, but keeps it for himself in his studio in Meudon. Although his supporters assure him that his Balzac is a work of genius, Rodin will never try to realize a commissioned monument again. Only in 1939, the Balzac monument will be cast in bronze, to be placed at the Boulevard Raspail. The 1897 plaster model of the Victor Hugo Monument was only cast in 1964, to be placed at the intersection of the Avenue Victor Hugo and Avenue Henri-Martin.
The Barbediènne Foundry obtains a license to produce a mass bronze edition of the 'Kiss' and 'Eternal Springtime', in several sizes, over a period of 20 years.


Together with Judith Cladel, the daughter of his friend Léon Cladel, Rodin travels to Belgium and The Netherlands; there she organizes the first important touring exhibition of Rodin's work.
Rodin receives a commission for a monument of Puvis de Chavanne.
Rodin sees Camille's 'Maturity' at the 1899 exhibition of the Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts as President of the sculpture section. Camille is awarded a state commision to cast the group in bronze, but the allocation of the necessary state funds is blocked; Camille suspects an insulted Rodin has intervened - which probably was the case.
In his studio, Rodin engages many amateur models, dancers, acrobats, and encourages them to move around freely. Together with Bourdelle and Desbois, he creates the Institut Rodin at 132 boulevard du Montparnasse, to teach young sculptors after these principles.


Rodin has too little time for his teaching duties, so the Institut Rodin is closed again in April.
During the Universal Exhibition, Rodin erects his own pavillon at the Place de l‘Alma in Paris. On 400 sqm, Rodin shows 150 works; with this prestigious retrospective Rodin reaches a new public and earns international appreciation. In the following years his work is shown in several European and American cities; the prices of ordered portraits start to increase. Especially the wealthy American public discovers the French sculptor and starts commissioning busts and casts.


Picasso's first exhibition in Paris.
Death of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.


Exhibition at the Biennale of Venice and at the Dritte Sezession in Berlin.
Numerous commissions for busts.
By now, Rodin runs a large "factory", where numerous mould makers, reducers, pointers, roughers and stone carvers help him to reproduce his clay models in plaster and bronze or translate them into marble, to satisfy this increasing public demand for his work. Rodin in his atelier in Meudon, ca. 1905 Many young, talented sculptors, like Jean Escoula, Ernest Nivet, Jules Desbois, Jean Baffier, Victor Peter, François Pompon, Jacov Nicoladze, Charles Despiau and Antoine Bourdelle have worked at Rodin´s ateliers as assistants for a longer or shorter period of time.
But for the younger generation, like Constantin Brancusi, Jacques Lipchitz and Aristide Maillol, Rodin appears like an overmighty father-figure, from whom they have to win a distance in order to develop their own style. 
In his atelier in Meudon, Rodin collects a great quantity of studies and fragments, especially single hands: his abattis


Rodin in his AtelierThe photographer Edward Steichen makes a series of photos of the artist and his sculptures. Before, Rodin had co-operated with a number of other photographers, like Druet, Bulloz, Haweis & Coles, to create photographic records of his work and even represent his sculptures at exhibitions.
Rodin stays in England during the installation of his 'John the Baptist' in the Kensington-Museum with a dinner in his honour.
On the occasion of his exhibition in Prague he travels through Czechoslovakia with Alfons Mucha and meets Gustav Klimt.
First meeting with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who proposes to write a book about him.
Emile Zola dies on 30 Sept. 1902 by a carbon monoxide accident.
The company 'Alexis Rudier', run by Alexis's son Eugène and his widow, becomes Rodin's permanent foundry for all bronze casts.
Work on 'The Hand of God' and 'The Hand of the Devil'.




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