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Demonstration of the Roentgens' Dressing Table (Poudreuse)

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Honoré de Balzac

Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)

Date:
probably 1891
Culture:
French
Medium:
Terracotta
Dimensions:
H. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
12.11.1
  • Description

    In 1891 the Société des Gens de Lettres commissioned Rodin to create a monument to Balzac, who had died in 1850, for the Palais-Royal in Paris. Rodin made numerous preparatory studies. As the head evolved from a lifelike portrait to the huge, craggy, masklike face of the final version, Rodin made several trips to Tours, where Balzac had lived. There, he hoped to find men with facial characteristics similar to those of Balzac to serve as models for the author's portrait. This original terracotta represents one of the models, a man named Estager, whom Rodin identified as the "Conductor of Tours." The final version of the monument, finished in 1898, depicts Balzac wrapped in the monk's robe he liked to wear when he was writing. More of a symbol than a portrait, the statue shocked the Société and they rejected it. The first cast in bronze was erected in Paris in 1939, eighteen years after Rodin's death, at the crossing of the boulevards Montparnasse and Raspail.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: [on back of neck]: A. Rodin

  • Provenance

    Auguste Rodin , (until 1912; sold to MMA)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
191843

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