For Immediate Release

Media Contacts: Melanie Mathos / Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates /
(843) 371-1363 / (843) 410-5306


Gibbes Museum of Art Presents Rodin Exhibition

Rodin: In His Own Words, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation - Opens May 25, 2007

(Charleston, SC) – The work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, creator of such celebrated works as The Kiss and The Thinker, is featured at the Gibbes Museum of Art May 25 through August 12, 2007. Rodin: In His Own Words, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation features approximately 30 bronzes by Rodin ranging in size from 4 1/2 inches tall (Mask of Iris) to more than 7 feet tall and weighing 750 pounds (Claude Lorrain). In addition to the bronzes, the exhibition includes an educational display about the lost-wax casting process, a number of Rodin works on paper and a selection of original letters written by the artist. The exhibition is accompanied by a brochure titled Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession, Sculpture from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

"Rodin was an artist who loved to talk and to write about making art," says Judith Sobol, Executive Director, Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. "This exhibition pairs what he created with what he said aboutcreating, and therefore provides a wonderful insight into this extraordinary artist's intentions, insights and methods."

The artistic mission of Auguste Rodin was to communicate the vitality of the human spirit. His ability to liberate his subject matter and style from late nineteenth-century academic conventions helped to redefine sculpture during the height of the French Impressionist movement. Rodin's work was significantly influenced by Michelangelo, and even before his death Rodin was compared to the Italian master. Today Rodin is widely regarded as the most important sculptor of the era. In addition to the impressive holdings of the Museé Rodin in Paris and the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his work is included in such esteemed collections as that of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art.

Born François-Auguste-René Rodin in Paris in 1840, the artist attended the Ecole Impériale de Dessin to cultivate his early interest in the visual arts. Though he faced rejection early in his career, in 1880 Rodin received his first public commission to design an entrance portal for a museum of decorative arts to be built in Paris. Although the museum would never be built, The Gates of Hell became Rodin's most ambitious work. Beginning in the 1880s, Rodin exhibited many of the individual figures from The Gates of Hell as independent sculptures. In the years to follow, Rodin was commissioned to execute many other monuments, such as The Burghers of Calais (1884 - 1888), the Monument to Balzac (ca. 1897) and the Monument to Victor Hugo (ca. 1897 - 1900).

By 1900, European nobility and the general public paid Rodin tribute, and an entire pavilion at the Paris World Exposition was devoted to his work. In 1908 he moved his studio and showroom to the Hotel Biron where, along with a second studio and home in the Paris suburb of Meudon, he worked until his death in 1917. A year before he died, Rodin donated his entire estate to the French government. Today the Hotel Biron and the estate in Meudon together serve as the home of the Museé Rodin, which is dedicated to his art.

In accordance with Auguste Rodin's will, the Musée Rodin has the legal and moral right to cast his sculpture posthumously. Because of this, posthumous Musée Rodin casts are originals. In 1956 French law limited the production to twelve casts of each piece. In 1968 a system of numbering was established by French legislation whereby the first eight of twelve casts (numbered 1/8 – 8/8) are available to the public for purchase; the last four (numbered I/IV – IV/IV) are reserved for cultural institutions.

This exhibition is organized and made possible by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and sponsored locally by BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina, Gibbes, etc., SCE&G and media sponsor

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. The Gibbes is currently undergoing major renovations and will reopen in the spring of 2016. The renovated museum will properly showcase its extensive collections and will feature an admission-free ground floor, providing a place to watch artists at work in studios and stroll through a world-class garden.

135 Meeting Street | Charleston, SC | 29401