H. de Roos - What is an original Rodin?


Because of these French regulations, since 1978 the Musée Rodin in Paris can issue only twelve "original edition" casts of those Rodin works that were not cast already during Rodin´s lifetime. And: the Musée Rodin cannot produce new "original editions" of Rodin works that were already cast "to the limit" during his lifetime - like The Kiss and Eternal Spring, the most popular pieces. 


The Kiss, Museo Soumaya

Eternal Spring, Soumaya. Both casts: Barbédienne

Today, Rodin has been dead for over 80 years and the international copyright protection has expired. 

Copyright law does protect the artist’s work only for a limited period of time, for 70 years after the artist’s dead, at the most. During this time, the artist or his heirs have the exclusive chance to make an economic gain from the protected work. When this period is over, the public interest to have access to the art work is considered to prevail over the private interest of the creator or his heirs. Today Rodin´s work has passed into the public domain and, - as far as I am informed - no law can forbid anyone to produce additional Rodin casts. 

This leads to the paradox situation that the Musée Rodin, which is authorized  by Rodin´s will to produce posthumous casts, cannot produce additional "original editions" of the most famous sculptures, while other parties, that are not bound to French law and have access to the necessary plasters or moulds, can produce new bronzes ad libidum and give them fantasy names like "Master Editions" – as the Gruppo Mondiale Est. does.

The monopoly held by the Musée Rodin is challenged, and this is leading to tensions between those parties competing for public attention and revenues. 





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