H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition

6. The absence of a catalog would impair an evaluation of the plasters (3)

Full Disclosure Barred By Agreements Of Confidentiality

Apparently, the Canadians had not expected a Symposium speaker actually would like to take a stand in the controversy with the Musée Rodin and present an independent opinion on the validity of the new plaster collection. Moreover, the information needed to build such an opinion on seemed to be barred by confidentiality agreements:

I feel it is important to provide to you with as clear and complete information as possible, and will do so by courier before you leave to attend the symposium at the Royal Ontario Museum. 

Please understand that the Rodin collection of plasters is in the process of being donated to the MacLaren Art Centre - at the present time the donation has not been completed yet. As is normal (at least in Canada) with prospective donations of cultural property, MacLaren Art Centre is subject to confidentiality agreements with some donors in regard to some works. Within the confines of these agreements, I am most willing to provide you with documentation for the purposes of your presentation.

My understanding is that you are interested in information about the plasters. Again, subject to the above confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, I suggest that MacLaren provide you with documentation on the number of representative plasters that you wish to discuss in your symposium presentation. You are not there to authenticate all or any of the plasters. Dr Schaff and others have worked and are working toward that end. You are speaking within the confines of the symposium and your approach is fascinating and illuminating.

[From: Letter from William Moore to the author, 26 Oct. 2001]

Although I had intended to discuss the critique by the Musée Rodin on a more general level, I felt the speakers who had promised to come to Toronto had a right to receive all necessary background documentation, after the most prestigious scholars and institutions had declined the invitation:


The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto was hoping to host a big symposium on the French sculptor Auguste Rodin Nov. 6. But with less than three weeks to go, the response of would-be participants is less than overwhelming.

Last month the ROM mailed dozens of letters to Rodin scholars and buffs around the world, inviting them to the Ontario capital to weigh in on the legacy of the sculptor, using its current, controversial exhibition of Rodin plasters from Barrie, Ont.'s MacLaren Art Centre as the hook.

Thus far, only six individuals have reportedly confirmed their attendance. Organizers had hoped representatives of the Muséé Rodin in Paris, the executor of the Rodin estate and the institution that has been the most vociferous in trashing the ROM, would show. But earlier this month Jacques Vilain, director of the Musée, and Antoinette Romain, its curator of sculpture, gave them the big non.

[From an article in the Toronto Globe, 20 Oct. 2001]




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