Auguste Rodin, (1840-1917)
'Thomas Fortune Ryan' (1851-1928)
Height 61 cm
Inscribed 'A. Rodin' on the front right and stamped 'Alexis Rudier Fondeur/Paris' on the back of the right shoulder
Museum no. A.48-1914
Given by the artist
Thomas Ryan was an American millionaire, introduced to Rodin by the Duchesse de Choiseul. He thought Rodin was a genius and played a major role in promoting his work in the USA. In 1910 he financed for the purchase of ten of Rodin's works for the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Ryan sat for his portrait at the Hôtel Biron (now the Musée Rodin) in 1909, shortly after Rodin had rented studio space there. As neither spoke the other's language, the sittings were conducted in silence. Rodin's portrait captures the strength of Ryan's character as well as his physical power - he was broad-shouldered and over six feet tall. Versions in bronze, silver and marble were made for Ryan's own collection, all of them delivered by 1910.