Gates of Hell, 1880-1917

The Thinker, 1880, bronze

(see also conservation project)

Eternal Springtime, plaster

Michelangelo - Nude Back View
From the review

Rodin Museum of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Rodin Museum is administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art and located just four blocks east of it:

Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646 USA

Tel. 001 - 215 - 763 81 00
Fax 001 - 215 - 763 89 55

Curator European Painting and Sculpture: Joe Rishel

Rodin exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition as early as 1876, (Centennial of American Independence), as part of the Belgian delegation.

The Philadelphia Museum ordered its copy of The Thinker at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900.
The Burghers of Calais group was cast between 1919 et 1922 and installed in 1925.

The largest part of the collection is based on the Jules E. Mastbaum Donation. This movie theater magnate started collecting Rodin work in 1923, then already with the intention to create a Museum that should offer a broad view of the artist. Within only three years, by the time of his death 1926, Mastbaum had built the by then greatest Rodin collection outside of Paris. He commissioned two French neoclassical architects to plan a Rodin museum and a sculpture garden. The museum, which opened to the public in 1929, houses 127 sculptures, including bronze casts of the artist's greatest works. Most important among these is the cast of The Gates of Hell, which had been left in plaster at Rodin's death in 1917. The first cast was kept for the Museum in Philadelphia and the second was given to the Musée Rodin in Paris.

During her interview with Christopher Riopelle (then Associate Curator of the Rodin Museum, now working for the London National Gallery), Daisie Fried mentions a story from unofficial sources — that Mastbaum learned to love Rodin from his mistress who, on Mastbaum's costs, went to study sculpture in France and returned full of respect for the French master. According to the story, he planned to build the museum and let her run it; but as he died in 1926 his wife threw the mistress out. Chris Riopelle replied he had never heard that story; the version he knew was that Mastbaum was walking down a Paris street when he saw a cast of a Rodin hand in a store window.

In June 2000, the Museum reopened with an extensive Rodin exhibition (pieces partly on loan from the Musée Rodin, Paris) after an eight-month renovation closure.

Some major Rodin exhibitions:
The Hands of Rodin, a Tribute to B. Gerald Cantor (March 27 through June 22, 1997). An exhibition of some 60 works in bronze and plaster, comprised of loans from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and Collection and major US museum collections. (See also Brooklyn Museum, New York and Travelling Cantor Collection Exhibitions for full information)

Simultaneously, the Museum presented the exhibition Rodin and Michelangelo: A Study in Artistic Inspiration. The 236-page catalogue examines Rodin´s career and his acknowledged debt to Michelangelo (1475-1564). The texts discuss Rodin's early departures from the idealized figures of traditional academic sculpture as well as his 1876 visit to Italy. The exhibition was also presented in the Casa Buonarroti, Florence.

For more background information read the cover story by Daisy Fried for

   Search the PMA Database

Some items:

   The Age of Bronze, 1876-77, bronze, foundry
      mark Alexis Rudier, H. 71 x W. 28 x D. 20"
     (black patina)

   The Gates of Hell, first bronze cast

   The Thinker, H. 27", signed, marked Alexis
      Rudier Fondeur (black patina)

   Eternal Springtime, marble

   The Sirens, ca. 1885, plaster cast, H. 19" and
      a bronze cast, H. 17" (black patina)

   The Martyr (from the Gates of Hell), bronze,
      enlarged, foundry mark Alexis Rudier,
      L. 62¼" (brown patina)

   She who was.../The Old Courtesan, bronze,
      foundry mark Alexis Rudier, H. 20" (black patina)

   Balzac dressed in Robe, version t, 1897, bronze,
     H. 41¾" (green patina), foundry Mark Alexis
     Rudier [Spear pl. 45]

   Mask of Hanako, 1908-11, plaster, H. 6½",
     signed, plus a tinted pâte de verre version,
     H. 8¾" [Spear pl. 55]

  John Tancock, Evan H. Turner (Introduction),
The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The Collection of the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, 1975.


Terms of Use  Copyright Policy    Menu missing?  Back one page  Reload this page   Top of this page 

Notice: Museum logos appear only as buttons linking to Museum Websites and do not imply any
formal approval of RODIN-WEB pages by these institutions. For details see Copyright Policy.
© Copyright 1992 - September 2003 for data collection & design by Hans de Roos - All Rights Reserved.
Last update of this page: 19.09.2003