We all know Rodin as a sculptor – the overly famous « Thinker » or that little ballerina exposed at the Musée d’Orsay. Most of us however do not know that Rodin drew throughout his career and dedicated his last 30 years almost exclusively to drawing. How important this art had become for him is proved by the exhibitions he organized in the early 20th century in various European capitals, featuring only his drawings. He once said: “My drawings are the key to my art”.
Indeed, Rodin the sculptor is visible through the paper. Lines of pencil eternally seeking the perfect two-dimensional expression of the body, a few dashes of watercolor… Rodin’s drawings are profoundly erotic, delicate, and free. As when he sculpted, Rodin drew from live models, and as he took his art further, he became more and more interested in movement, asking his models to perform daily intimate gestures like combing their hair or drying their body with a cloth after bathing. Rodin seems to have been searching for the eternal feminine and may well have found it. You be the judge.
The exhibition is held at the beautiful and somewhat confidential Musée Rodin, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, not far from our Hotel Plaza Tour Eiffel. The museum owns almost all of Rodin’s drawings – a corpus of 7000 pieces – and most of the ones chosen for the exhibition have never been on display before.