Back in the fall of 2005 at the Albany [NY] Institute of History and Art, my wife and I saw this lovely exhibit of the works of Auguste Rodin called Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession, which was billed as “a complete retrospective…
“The exhibition spans the length of Rodin’s career from his earliest bust of his father, Jean Baptiste Rodin, to his later studies of dancing figures. In addition to the bronzes, there are works on paper, photographs, portraits of the artist, and an educational model that demonstrates the complexities of the lost-wax casting process, Rodin’s favored method of sculptural reproduction.”
I remember seeing a version of piece called The Thinker. I’d viewed pictures of it many times, and it looked nice. But seeing it in person, I thought it was one of the most sensual items I had ever seen in my life!
As it turns out, though, there was some controversy over the show presented by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation over an eight-year span. As noted in this lengthy and detailed blogpost, the exhibition “contains at best a half-a-dozen or so non-disclosed reproductions – with fifty-four of them being absolute outright fakes.
“An example of one of these non-disclosed fakes is the…Monumental Head of Balzac. In the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation’s 2001 Rodin A Magnificent Obsession catalogue, it is also listed as ‘cast 9/12 in 1980’ and ‘Signed and numbered A. Rodin.’ Since Auguste Rodin died in 1917, some sixty-three years earlier, how’d he do that?”
This was disappointing, of course, but it was so in retrospect, some three years after we saw the show. Meanwhile, the booklet and the film of his life that was shown, not to mention the irrefutable Rodin pieces that were shown, still made the visit worthwhile.
In any case, THE best webpage about Rodin that I’ve come across is this NotSorry.com page with LOTS of useful links.