H. de Roos - What is an original Rodin?
How Should we Refer to Posthumous Casts?
The term "original edition" as proposed by Chatelain suggests this Midas hand would even reach beyond the grave, to bestow us with further original works. In fact, the artist only left us his mould or model. We have seen Chatelain´s concept, ignoring the active participation of the artist in translating this model into to a finished bronze, is problematic in those cases, the sculptor also actively dealt with the execution process. Further, we do not know exactly which objects he thought to be suitable as models for such editions. As a consequence, the Musée Rodin or other edition issuers and the artisans they employ to a certain degree step into decisions the artist would have kept to himself - and provoke critique, as voiced by John Tancock, Robert Torchia and Catherine Campbell.
More over, even though Rodin´s active participation in the execution of his bronzes varied and the year of casting and the Musée Rodin copyright mark, being properly stamped on the Musée Rodin casts properly discloses their posthumous nature, it should be admitted that the use of the term ''original'' may lead to false expectations with the general public. In the best case, it produces confusion:
"Rodin by Moonlight" BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Rodin Sculpture Garden
Dedicated in May 1985, is the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden at the Cantor Arts Center features the largest concentration of outdoor art by Auguste Rodin outside the Musée Rodin in Paris. The Garden includes Rodin's most ambitious work, The Gates of Hell, which was created over a 10-year period, plus 19 other bronzes. In addition, two of the Cantor Arts Center's galleries present another 60 of his works, primarily in bronze but also in marble, plaster, wax, and terra cotta.
The Garden was designed so that it would recall in
spirit the gardens in which Rodin exhibited his public art and it provides
a spacious, natural setting for each sculpture. All of the bronze
casts are authentic and originals,
having been made from Rodin's plasters in limited editions by Rodin's
heir, the French government.
"They act as if the living presence of the artist
is not necessary to create art," Arseneau said. "That's
ridiculous. If it was cast during his lifetime, at least it was
authorized. When he died, the right to sign his name died with him. In
other words, it's counterfeit."
[From: Pat Shellenbarger, Rodin exhibit dogged by
challenge to several works' originality,
A "show of original Rodin sculptures" should contain casts made or at least authorized by the artist in person, with regard to the specific execution of the work and not only by the general power of attorney he left to the French State.
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