Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Head of Balzac

Artist:
Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
Founder:
Cast by Georges Rudier (French)
Date:
modeled ca. 1892–93, cast 1980
Culture:
French
Medium:
Bronze, black marble base
Dimensions:
Overall (with base): 17 1/2 × 12 1/4 × 9 1/4 in. (44.5 × 31.1 × 23.5 cm); Height (without base): 12 in. (30.5 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Bronze
Credit Line:
Gift from B. Gerald Cantor Collection, 1985
Accession Number:
1985.111
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800
Rodin made more than fifty studies for the Balzac monument, and the majority are heads. This one represents the artist’s transition from more naturalistic portraits toward the abstracted mask that adorns the final study for the Monument to Balzac. Here, Balzac’s agitated brow, pug nose, and deeply gouged eyes evoke the author’s melancholic insights into the human psyche. Perhaps Rodin identified with Balzac. Both were driven souls, avid art collectors, voracious lovers, and prolific artists.
Signature: On the left shoulder: A Rodin N°10

Marking: On the rear of the neck: .Georges Rudier./.Fondeur.Paris.; on the left shoulder: © by Musée Rodin, 1980; on the underside, impressed: A. Rodin
B. Gerald Cantor Collection (until 1985; to MMA)
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