H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition


A Footnote: Did Antoinette Romain See The Plasters In Canada Or Not?

Even the most simple point - the question if Antoinette Romain did actually see the plasters after being cleaned, or did not - seems to need further investigation. The following interview transcript, published on the CBC Website, suggests that Antoinette Romain - quoted as "Rumin" by CBC - has seen the plasters in their new state and even defended their quality vis-a-vis art critic Gary Michael Dalt:

OFF: The works are principally plaster casts -- the maquettes a sculptor works with before he casts them in bronze. The collection is valued at $40 million, financed by a consortium of private and public sector interests. Art critic Gary Michael Dalt was there for the unveiling.

GARY MICHAEL DALT: I said something about, you know, a couple of these don't look quite right to me. You know the Kiss doesn't look right at all. It went around the room like wildfire that I was sort of saying that these things were all fake and I didn't mean it that way. I was just sort of having fun. They didn't look very good to me.

OFF: That's exactly what the Musée Rodin in Paris thought. The museum denounced the collection as bad reproductions. Antoinette Rumin is one of the chief curators.

RUMIN: The plasters are beautiful, are white, are very sensitive. And the plasters which I have seen in Venice last November are not at all like that.

[From: Interview by Carol Off for CBC, with William Moore, Gary Michael Dalt, Antoinette le Romain, aired: August 16, 2001. CBC News Online: Katie MacGuire and Owen Wood. 
Interview transcript under www.cbc.ca/national/news/rodin/  My italics - HdR]

The more surprising is then the full turn Antoinette Romain makes a bit later in the same interview, according to the published transcript:

OFF: During the coming weeks, the Barrie, Ontario Rodin's will actually be here at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Barrie hasn't built its Rodin gallery yet and is touring the collection to raise money and attention. It has a number of sponsors, including the CBC which provides publicity. This R.O.M. show gives the collection much credibility, something it needs right now.

DALT: I don't know really ultimately at the bottom line level what cheeses people off about this problem. I just think it's because they don't like to be hoodwinked and they feel, I think incorrectly, that they are being hoodwinked. Nobody likes to have the wool pulled over his eyes.

RUMIN: It's a wrong thing to come and see bad plasters. They should not show bad image of Rodin.

[From: www.cbc.ca/national/news/rodin/, see above. My italics - HdR]

Did Antoinette Romain see the plasters in Canda or not? Did she find them "beautiful, white and sensitive" or - quite the opposite - "bad plasters"? Did she ever discuss this topic live with William Moore? To quote Milroy: "Only (her) hairdresser knows for sure".

I have sent CBC and the MacLaren an email to enquire and became the following answer:

Antoinette Romain saw the collection of plasters in Venice I guess in 1999 but no she never saw them after they had been cleaned and exhibited here in Toronto.

An interview between William and Antoinette never actually took place. They were both interviewed by CBC reporters on the same day and broadcasted in the same segment. 

We have emplored Madame Romain many times to meet with us. Particularly when we knew she was visiting the Musee du Quebec, Quebec City, but we only received filter responses from an admistrator at the Musée du Quebec saying that she was too busy to meet with us.

[From: Letter from Mary Reid to the author, 4 Dec. 2001]




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