Archive for November 12, 2012

Artist of the moment……..Sculptor Auguste Rodin….

Auguste Rodin was born today in Paris, France on November 12th in the year 1840. He is best known for his sculpture works, the most famous being the “Thinker.” This was a piece of art quite familiar to me as I grew up watching Dobie Gillis who always went to contemplate life whilst posing close to the statue.  Here you can see what I am talking about, even watching just the first minute of the clip! Rodin is considered by many art historians to be the father of modern sculpture.

Born to middle class parents. Father worked for the police department. Rodin tried on multiple occasions to be accepted into the Grand Ecole, a wonderful school of fine arts in France. He was rejected for his clay sculptures, they were too modern looking. After this setback Rodin took to designing ornaments and working in the commercial art field.

The artist wasn’t able to fully realize making money from his art until he was in his thirties. Rodin earned an alright living working in the commerical decoration business, but it was later in life when he would become super successful as both an artist and as a businessman.  He met his partner Rose, in 1864 and the couple would have one son.
He went on to take sculpting lessons with Antoine-Louis Barye, a great sculptor of animals. This taught the artist how to capture motion in clay.

He was gradually able to save up enough money to travel in Europe and when he saw Michelangelo it changed his life! He found more belief in his way of seeing the world and thanked Michelangelo for breaking him free of the shackles of the Neo Classical style Rodin hated.

Gradually the artist was able to gain public commissions and he also assisted other more popular artsits in their work. One commission that garnered him much recognition was a work titled the Burghers of Calais. The piece was commissioned by Calais. A small city that during the days of princes and knights was told everyone in the city would be killed in mass bloodshed unless six well known citizens came to the new powers to be and gave themselves up ready to die. Rodin made this work into a bronze weighing nearly two tons.

A great selection of many sculptures made by the Auguste Rodin.

A musuem in his name has more than 6,000 sculptures and more than 7,000 drawings. It is located in Paris, France.

Price range info: The french government ended up passing a law to deal with the possibility of fakes. It also was to cement the idea that only twelve copies of an artist’s casts can be made for it to be considered by the artist. If a work has a certified history, or provenance, it can be worth millions. In 2008 a work sold at the auction house Christies for 18.9 million dollars.  Smaller works done in bronze can be found for less than one thousand dollars. Lithographs can be found from a few hundred to five thousand dollars.


In this footage see some very old film of Rodin walking around a statue. What a beard the man had! Santa Clause would be jealous!

Let us compare the works of another master sculptor, who is famous like Vincent Van Gogh even among those who don’t love art, Michelangelo.  Michelangleo depicted gods and goddesses and of course his masterpiece David. He exaggerated body parts and limbs to make humans appear more divine. The approach of Rodin was the opposite. He was out to capture a person without idealizing or making them more beautiful than they appeared. Many critics when seeing his work for the first time didn’t like this new approach. Rodin stuck to his method and eventually the entire art world changed their minds! Rodin was considered a master of a new type of modern sculpture.

Some major works that you may heard of by the artist besides the thinker are The Kiss, The Walking Man, and The Age of Bronze.

At the turn of the century he was the sculptor held in highest regard and was known world wide.

He had a steady lover and companion named Rose, but they didn’t get married until the last year of both of their lifes. The couple were married in January. Rose died just two weeks later in February. August Rodin passed away in November of the same year  (1917) at the age of seventy seven.