A number of Rodin’s sublime sculptures have always been prominent in the walkway of the Met’s great second floor hall known as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery, but now the walls of this great tall ceilinged promenade has been repainted in grey to present an aesthetically resplendent and quite unforgettable collection of some of the finest examples of his unique genius, his ability to carve the deepest emotions into not three but four dimensions, the fourth emerging from living shapes momentarily paused but glowing with more beauty, significance and presence than possible in real life, all together with contemporary paintings related to his work and with an additional room full of Rodin’s drawings, letters and draftsmanship.
On the centenary of the death of Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), The Metropolitan Museum of Art will celebrate its historic collection of the artist’s work in Rodin at The Met, opening September 16, 2017. Nearly 50 marbles, bronzes, plasters, and terracottas by Rodin, representing more than a century of acquisitions and gifts to the Museum, will be displayed in the newly installed and refurbished Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery (Gallery 800). The exhibition will feature iconic sculptures such as The Thinker and The Hand of God, as well as masterpieces such as The Tempest that have not been on view in decades. Paintings from The Met’s collection by some of Rodin’s most admired contemporaries, including his friends Claude Monet (1840–1926) and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824–1898), will be presented in dialogue with the sculptures on display.
The exhibition is made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.
The extraordinary range of The Met’s holdings of Rodin’s work will be highlighted in an adjacent gallery (Gallery 809) with a selection of drawings, prints, letters, and illustrated books, as well as photographs of the master sculptor and his art. This focused presentation will introduce visitors to the evolution of Rodin’s draftsmanship and demonstrate the essential role of drawing in his practice. It will also address Rodin’s engagement with photographers, especially Edward Steichen (1879–1973), who served as a key intermediary in bringing Rodin’s drawings to New York.
Rodin at The Met begins a new chapter in the Museum’s long-standing engagement with Rodin. In 1912, The Met opened a gallery dedicated to Rodin’s sculptures and drawings—the first at the Museum devoted exclusively to the work of a living artist. Displayed in that gallery were almost 30 sculptures and, within a year, 14 drawings. During the late 20th century, the historic core of The Met’s Rodin collection was further enhanced by Iris and B. Gerald Cantor and their Foundation’s gifts of more than 30 sculptures, many of them from editions authorized by the artist and cast posthumously. Today, The Met’s holdings of Rodin’s art are among the largest and most distinguished in the United States. The exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to experience anew Rodin’s enduring artistic achievements.
Rodin at The Met is organized by Denise Allen, Curator in The Met’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts; Ashley Dunn, Assistant Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints; and Alison Hokanson and Asher Ethan Miller, both Assistant Curators in the Department of European Paintings.