H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition




Since more than a hundred years, Rodin´s friends, sculptor colleagues, art critics, scholars and curators have been familiar now with Rodin´s specific attitude towards damage, accidents and fragments and assemblages. The insights evolved from this are part of the standard reception of Rodin´s work now, and the public has learned to accept plaster works expressly displaying damage as true Rodins:

(..) Rodin´s expression in all examined pieces is so strong and his style stands so apart, that even minor differences in surface quality probably would not hamper their proper reception. If, for example, "La Méditation sans bras", with the arms rudely broken off, is generally accepted as "authentic Rodin" - partly just because of this apparent damage that Rodin wanted to be shown - I do not believe the MacLaren exhibition can do much harm to Rodin´s fame.

[From: Letter to Jacques Vilain, 22 Oct. 2001]

The fact Rodin created this damage himself of course gives it another status than if a Museum curator would chop off a chunk of the plaster with a hammer now.


La Méditation sans bras, Plaster. Photo: Freuler
Source: Albert Elsen, Dans L´Atelier de Rodin

Still, Rodin curators, conservators and scholars seem to tolerate a much broader range of accidental damage than usual with other artists, claiming to represent Rodin´s own point of view. A very well-documented example is the case of the Cleveland Thinker.




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Last update of this page: 17.09.2003