AUGUSTE RODIN - his life, his work (7)




Auguste Rodin, 1903Rainer Maria Rilke publishes the book 'Auguste Rodin' and Judith Cladel 'Auguste Rodin: Pris sur la Vie'.

Rodin becomes Commander of the Legion of Honor and follows up Whistler as President of the International Association of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers.
Exhibitions in Berlin, London (the big 'Thinker' in plaster and a small one in bronze), Venice and New York.


Auguste RodinThrough a studio assistant, the Finish sculptress Hilda Flodin, with whom he sometimes spends the night, he is introduced to the young Welsh painter Gwendolin John, sister of the painter Augustus John. Rodin asks her to model for 'Whistler's Muse' and starts a sexual affair with her as well. He regularly visits her in her apartment, till he is bored by these hasty love hours and Gwen's emotional dependency. During their relationship, Gwen has written him over 2,000 letters.
In London, he meets Claire Coudert, Duchesse de Choiseul. She is about 25 years younger than Rodin and brings a new vitality into his dusty rooms.  She starts  working for him as impressaria and promotes his sales in the USA. Through her efforts, the prices of his work go up enormously and within a few years, his annual income increases from 60,000 till 400,000 Francs. 
Henri Asselin, a friend of Camille Claudel's supporter Blot, visits Camille in her atelier on the Quai de Bourbon; she believes Rodin is stealing her ideas and has ordered to kill her. 
Eve Fairfax, marble Rodin works on the bust of 'Eve Fairfax' and on 'The Hands of Lovers'.
Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum and in Düsseldorf.
A monumental plaster  version of the 'Thinker', enlarged  by Henri LeBossé, is exhibited at the Spring Salon of the National Society of Fine Arts, May 1904 in Paris, under the central dome of the Grand Palais Museum. Gustave Geffroy writes in the Revue blue of 17 Dec. 1904:

"If he were to stand up and walk, the ground under his feet would tremor and scores of soldiers would part for him."



Rodin's atelier in Meudon On 16 Jan. 1905, a bronze-painted plaster of the 'Thinker', put in front of the Panthéon on 28 Nov. 1904,  is destroyed by a confused person called Poitron.
Rainer Maria Rilke On 15 September,  Rainer Maria Rilke becomes his private secretary and moves to Meudon.
Rodin buys the ruins of the Château d‘Issy, the 18th century castle in Touraine where he had often stayed with Camille. He hopes to reconstruct the building to establish a museum with his collection of antique sculpture;  this project cannot be realized for financial reasons and so only the storefront is reconstructed.
In December, Camille has a show of 13 works in Blot's gallery. The day after the vernissage, she has a terrible temper. Her brother Paul is worried about her state of mind.
Rodin receives the honoraray doctor degree of the University of Jena.
Exhibitions in Luxembourg, Boston and Venice.
Completion of the bust of 'Georges Geffroy' and 'Eve Fairfax'.


Gustav Klimt paints the 'The three Ages', inspired by Rodin's 'She was once the beautiful Héaulmière'.
Scandal about the first Manifesto of the Fauves, led by Henri Matisse.
Die Brücke is formed as group of artists.


A monumental bronze cast of 'The Thinker', financed by public subscription, is installed in front of the Panthéon. In 1922, it will be removed to the garden of the Musée Rodin.
Rodin with the Duchesse de Choiseul in the Hôtel Biron Rodin's friendship with the Duchesse turns into a love affair. She convinces him to buy a grammophone and hear music records. She makes Rodin feel like a younger man again, but she also tends to isolate him from his friends and shows great interest in his heritage.
Together with Rilke and the painter Zuloaga, Rodin travels to Toledo, Madrid, Córdoba, Sevilla and Pamplona; on 12 May he ends his friendship with Rilke, because he feels Rilke is taking advantage of Rodin's contacts in the art world; the Englishman Anthony Ludovici follows up Rilke as Rodin's personal secretary.
Rodin receives the honoraray doctor degree of the University of Glasgow.
Rodin's Cambodian Dancers Drawings of the 'Cambodian Dancers' on the occasion of the arrival of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia in Paris and Marseille; Rodin also draws in the dancing school of Paris. During the last decade of his life, Rodin develops an intuitive style of drawing. He liberates himself from the heavy black lines of his earlier drawings and from the pessimist ambivalence of his sculptural work. Without taking his eyes from the model, he swiftly produces numerous pencil sketches, focusing on seductive poses and the female sex. A series of these erotic drawings, presented by Rodin to Count Kessler, is exhibited in Weimar in January 1906 and provokes a scandal, which leads to Kessler's dismissal as presiding curator of the Weimar Museum. 
Rodin continues working on 'Ugolino'.


One of Rodin's DancersAt the same time as Mark Twain, also Rodin receives the honorary doctor degree of the University of Oxford.
Reconciliation with Rilke; a few years later Rilke assesses Rodin's situation as follows: 

"Rodin was lonesome because of his fame. And the increasing fame maybe made him more lonesome."

First great exhibition of his drawings in the Galerie Bernheim Jeune in Paris.
Further exhibitions in Barcelona, Budapest, London, New York, Berlin and Venice.




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