H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition

6. The absence of a catalogue would impair an evaluation of the plasters (18)

An Intended Suppression Of The Facts?

In the light of these efforts, the accusation of deception, as put forward by Jacques Vilain and Gary Arseneau, seems to be unjustified. Whether 2/3 or even 3/4 of the donated collection actually consists of lifetime plasters, as David Schaff claims, or less, will remain open to academic debate and for certain items, a difference of opinion may persist. Deception, on the other hand, assumes a willful distortion of the truth, an intended suppression of the facts.

Although the exhibition at the R.O.M. does not expressly engage the visitors in a discourse on the dating question, The Hand of God is duely indicated as a work "after Rodin". In the list of exhibition items supplied by the MacLaren, Rodin´s Hand Holding A Female Torso is listed as a composition by "Paul Cruet or Amadee Berhault", produced 1917: in this point, Arseneau´s critique is not justified and the Maclaren´s inventory list is more accurate than the entry in the Joconde Database supplied by the Musée Rodin. The Idyll of Ixelles (early babies) and Feminine Torso are listed as "attributed to Rodin".

As for the bronzes, Gary Arseneau actually detected an inaccuracy in dating:

The MacLaren Art Centre's "From Plaster to Bronzes: The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin" exhibition checklist lists the "Eustache de St. Pierre" with the dates and description: "(1884) 1895 version bronze (lifetime cast)." As I document on page 32 of my symposium presentation, the Vancouver Art Gallery emailed that the foundry for the "Eustache de St. Pierre" was Georges Rudier which went into business in 1952. Also this that their was an "incision on left side at back: Rodin 1964." If the MacLaren Art Centre and their "in my opinion" expert Dr. Schaff can't properly document the date of something so obvious, are we to accept anything the wishful speculate on?

[From: Letter from Gary Arsenerau to the author, 26 Dec. 2001]

Confronted with this critique, Schaff reacted as follows:

As for the bronze cast of the small "Eustache de St Pierre," whose signage I did not oversee, it seems an unfortunate, minor mistake - not a capital crime.

[From: Letter from Dr David Schaff  to the author, 27 Dec. 2001]




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