H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition


La Défense: Cécile Goldscheider´s Catalogue Raissonné

Instead of examining the indignation publicly voiced, Goldscheider simply states that Lebossé´s enlargement was "fully satifactory". But shortly after Rodin´s dead, many critics did not share that opinion:

There was a storm of criticism directed at Bénédite for undertaking the posthumous enlargement. Maybe people misunderstood the enlargement proces and did not realize that for Rodin it was not to be strictly mechanical. There was published criticism that Lebossé had betrayed Rodin by not enlarging from the original model in a purely mathematical way.
To justify his licenses with the model and his departure from mathematical exactitude, which he felt would have been a "professional error", Lebossé showed the press Rodin´s letter of 1912 asking him to add more "matière" to thicken the enlargement of The Defense. Lebossé seems not to have pointed out that Rodin consistently checked his work and that this project had a prior history of failure on a smaller scale.

[Elsen, p. 256]

Again, this issue has no direct relevance to the new MacLaren collection and exhibition.  But at least the well-documented example of La Défense shows, that the Musée Rodin itself not always has abstained from a practice it criticizes today.

Moreover, the very function of a  Catalogue Raisonné, published by the prestigious Wildenstein Insitute, is to discuss and settle questions of originality, especially for works whose status has been questioned. Instead of doing so, Cécile Goldscheider simply skipped the questions raised by Albert Elsen.

Lebossé (right) and the Verdun enlargement
Source: Goldscheider, Cat. entry 105C, p. 133

Since the Verdun enlargement was made before the present staff of the Musée Rodin was even born, and Cécile Goldscheider, who died in a tragic accident after the first volume of the Wildenstein catalog was published, no longer manages the Musée Rodin, the shortcomings of the past should not keep the Paris Museum from addressing the issue when necessary.





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