Auguste Rodin, A Set of Five Burghers of Calais, conceived 1887 - 1895 and cast between 1899 – 1917 during Rodin’s lifetime, bronze (various patinas), maximum height 19 (47 cm)
Auguste Rodin: Faces and Fables
Jun 20 – Jul 19, 2024
Bowman Sculpture Gallery
London, UK

Bowman Sculpture is thrilled to announce a major exhibition of important Auguste Rodin sculptures in London. Faces and Fables: Rodin’s Portraiture, Great Commissions, Mythology, and Sculptural Innovations opens on 20th of June until 19th of July, 2024.

This captivating showcase will delve into the multifaceted world of Auguste Rodin, one of the most revered sculptors of all time. Faces and Fables will offer visitors a comprehensive journey through Rodin’s artistic evolution. The exhibition will feature a stunning array of 30 sculptures from his earliest works through to the final pieces of his career and will centre around themes of Rodin’s portraiture, his most famous monumental commissions, mythological sculptures, and his innovative use of assemblage techniques that epitomize his mastery of the medium and which pushed the boundaries of artistic expression long before such techniques gained widespread recognition in the art world.

Auguste Rodin’s portraiture captures the essence of his subjects with depth and emotion. From intimate studies to grand busts, each piece reveals the artist’s ability to breathe life into clay and bronze and not only capture the visual aspects of the sitter but also incorporate an element of the sitter’s personality. The exhibition will feature two versions of Rodin’s iconic portraits derived from the Monument to Balzac, known to be one of the most controversial sculptures of the 19th century, including a cast of the final study of the work which was originally presented at the Salon of 1898. This present piece is number 7 of only thirteen casts in existence. Of the 13 casts the majority are to be found in public collections including examples in the collections of the Musée Rodin, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Stanford University Art Gallery and Museum, Palo Alto. In addition to his portraiture, Rodin’s enduring legacy is also exalted through his monumental commissions, including iconic masterpieces like The Gates of Hell and The Burghers of Calais.

These awe-inspiring works, which grace numerous public spaces and prestigious institutions worldwide, eloquently demonstrate Rodin’s unparalleled talent for capturing the grandeur of the human form while evoking profound narratives both in reality and imagination. In this upcoming exhibition, Bowman Sculpture is proud to present a rare and extraordinary highlight: an exquisite lifetime cast of The Thinker, one of only six known casts made between 1903 and 1914. Perhaps the most famous sculpture of all time, Auguste Rodin initially conceived this sculpture as an integral piece for the tympanum of his monumental work, La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell), inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Another exciting highlight is a set of lifetime casts of individual sculptures of The Burghers of Calais. 

“We are thrilled to present Faces and Fables,” says Robert Bowman. “This exhibition covers a wide range of Rodin’s sculptures from his early romantic pieces to his almost abstract works. As collectors will appreciate, it takes many years and some wonderful connections built up over a lifetime to be able to amass a group of works of this quality. It has been over five years since our last purely Rodin exhibition here in the gallery and I am excited to show this collection of exceptional sculptures to the world.”

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