Biography of Auguste Rodin

Portrait of Auguste Rodin, by H. Walter Barnett, 1902.

Portrait of Auguste Rodin, by H. Walter Barnett, 1902.

François-Auguste-René Rodin (1840–1917) was a French sculptor, considered by many to be the first 'modern' sculptor. He was famous not only for his work, but also for his private life, embarking on a number of romantic relationships. In 1914 he gifted a collection of his sculptures to the V&A in honour of British and French soldiers fighting side by side during World War I (1914–18).

Rodin's fame as a sculptor and the notoriety of his personal life have frequently been described and analysed in the vast body of literature that exists. It is not so surprising, perhaps, that an artist whose life work was making sculpture of the human body should also be passionate about it in his personal life.

The furore caused by his first major figure, 'The Age of Bronze'; the scandal surrounding his habit of taking many mistresses throughout his long relationship with Rose Beuret; his marriage to Rose only two weeks before her death and nine months before his own; his struggles with the art establishment; the rejection of his proposals for commissioned monuments; the enormous international fame he achieved after his 1900 exhibition - all are inextricably linked.

Portrait of Camille Claudel, c.1884.

Albumen print of Camille Claudel, about 1884.

Dinner at the Café Royal, held in honour of Auguste Rodin, 1902. © Reading Museums Service, Reading Borough Council. All rights reserved.

Dinner at the Café Royal, held in honour of Auguste Rodin, 1902. © Reading Museums Service, Reading Borough Council. All rights reserved

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