Charming museum that houses a large part of the work of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel. You will fall under the spell of its garden.
The Rodin Museum, opened in 1919, houses a large part of the work of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, who was an important part of Rodin's life, both artistically and emotionally. The Museum was originally a private mansion, known as the Hôtel Biron, whose construction on Rue de Varenne was completed in 1732.
History of the Rodin Museum
From 1905 onwards, the hotel was abandoned, waiting to be sold. Numerous artists such as Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse, Isadora Duncan and Rainer Maria Rilke, through whom Auguste Rodin discovered the place, took up residence there on a temporary basis. From 1911, Rodin occupied the entire hotel and installed some of his works in the garden. That same year the estate was sold to the State, but Rodin refused to leave the premises. He offered to give the State all his works and antiques in order to be able to live in the Hôtel Biron for life. In 1919, the Hôtel Biron and its garden were entirely dedicated, under the name of the Rodin Museum, to the exhibition of works donated by Rodin to the French State.
A career begun in controversy
The Museum holds a wide range of Rodin's works, from his sculptures and drawings to his paintings and photographs. Resolutely innovative in his sculpture, many critics accused Rodin's works of being fake. The most representative example is The Bronze Age. Its contours were so perfect that Rodin was accused of having made his casts directly on the model. Its authenticity was finally recognised and by the age of 45 the artist had achieved international fame.
In addition to the sculptures on display in the hotel, there are numerous statues in the park, which is enhanced by a sumptuous rose garden. Among the works that are now on display in the garden are Les Bourgeois de Calais, La Porte de l'Enfer, and Le Penseur. This use of natural spaces as a setting for sculpture is in keeping with the practices of the master, who, as early as 1908, had some of his works installed in this wild garden, as well as antiques from his collection. When the garden was renovated in 1993, two thematic paths were designed: the"Garden of Orpheus", where vegetation and rock gardens intermingle, and the"Garden of the Springs", made up of paths and water features. At the entrance to the garden, marble statues housed in the beautiful Marble Gallery can be seen from the large windows.