The Late Sculptor Auguste Rodin Takes Up “Residence” in Davidson
Art lovers have an opportunity to view works by one of the most iconic sculptors in history at Davidson College through April 5.
The exhibition, “Auguste Rodin: Truth Form Life,” includes 22 works by Rodin, who ushered the art form into the modern age. At the peak of his career after 1880 he was regarded by many as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo. The works on display include commissioned portraits of celebrated French heroes such as Balzac, Hugo, Jean D’Aire and The Burghers of Calais.
Sculpture was very popular in Rodin’s day, and collecting it suited the aspirations of a growing middle class. After 1880 Rodin was in great demand and his output of work in casting bronze and carving stone was prodigious. He employed a staff of as many as 50 assistants working in his studio.
Although he would supervise the work of assistants, Rodin created most of his original pieces. He then relied on his trusted assistants, craftspeople, and foundry staff to guarantee the quality of the carving or casting. Certain machines and procedures allowed Rodin to create different sizes and multiple copies of the same work. This practice allowed Rodin to sell multiple copies of a work, or exhibit them in different shows at the same time in different places. For instance, there were known to be more than 320 casts of his famous work, “The Kiss.”
The works at Davidson are on loan from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection of Los Angeles. Between 1945 and the early 1990s, Bernie Cantor and his wife, Iris, built the world’s largest and most comprehensive private collection of works by Rodin. It includes nearly 750 sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and documents. During the past four decades, The Cantor Foundation has generously loaned individual works and entire exhibitions to 160 museums worldwide.
Davidson’s exhibition is made possible by the Herb Jackson and Laura Grosch Gallery Endowment, Malu Alvarez ’02, and Davidson College Friends of the Arts.
The Rodin exhibition is on view in the Davidson College Belk Visual Arts Center at the corner of Main and Griffith Streets. The galleries are open Monday through Wednesday and Friday from 10-5, and Saturday and Sunday noon-4 p.m.
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.