H. de Roos - Towards a catalog of the Maclaren collection

A discussion with Gary Arseneau and Dr David Schaff (16)

Towards A Catalogue: Further Criteria For Classification

As we remember from the Guy Hain case, Hain for some pieces employed the surmoulage method. Because bronze shrinks while cooling, the authentic bronze is 1-2% smaller than the authentic foundry plaster. A casting mould produced by surmoulage on an authentic bronze will also 1-2% too small, and the fake bronze figure will accordingly be smaller than an authentic bronze. To compensate for the shrinkage, Hain heightened the base of the bronze fake. This is the effect Schaff referred to: fake copies lack integrity of form. Plaster duplicates made from first-generation foundry plasters, on the other hand, still would have the same dimensions and can be called authentic, not only because their dimensions corresponds to the bon creux moulds, but also because producing and employing such duplicates conforms to normal foundry practice.

Based on these definitions, we may distinguish now between original, authentic and non-authentic plasters in the Maclaren collection. As non-authentic, Schaff already mentioned the Hand of God plaster and Rodin´s Hand Holding a Feminine Torso.

(3) A third classification would refer to quality. As items of mediocre or poor quality, Schaff mentions the large Thinker plaster, the smallest Kiss version, and the Idyll of Ixelles.
In his letters, Schaff mentions the Idyll plaster was often repaired. The small Kiss version he calls "cast out"; this is also the plaster criticized by Gary Michael Dalt at the unveiling:

GARY MICHAEL DALT: I said something about, you know, a couple of these don't look quite right to me. You know the Kiss doesn't look right at all. It went around the room like wildfire that I was sort of saying that these things were all fake and I didn't mean it that way. I was just sort of having fun. They didn't look very good to me.

[From: Interview by Carol Off for CBC, aired: August 16, 2001, transcript under www.cbc.ca/national/news/rodin/]

In Part III, I will treat the quality of the large Thinker plaster more in detail.

(4) A fourth classification would be sort out the plasters in studio plasters, exhibition plasters, presentation plasters and foundry plasters. As already discussed in Chapter 3, the distinction between the categories is blurred, studio plasters being exhibited, exhibition plasters being presented, presented plasters being used - or abused - for bronze casting.
A foundry plaster may have been directly pulled from the original mould and therefore have exactly the same shape as exhibition or presentation plasters directly derived from that same mould as well.

(5) The last distinction would also be between first-generation plasters and second-generation plasters or duplicates. "First" and "second" are used in a relative sense: Rodin often re-edited his plasters, so that a "first-generation" foundry plaster in fact may be number three or five in a morphological sequence. According to Schaff´s notes, the majority of the Maclaren foundry plasters are duplicates, produced in the foundry to spare the first-generation foundry plasters. Although they are farther removed from the mould, such duplicates still can be accepted as authentic - see criterion Nr. 3.




Advanced Search and Search Rules

Advanced Search & Search Rules

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: 17.09.2003