The CollectionWith nearly 150 bronzes, marbles, and plasters, the distinguished collection housed in the Rodin Museum represents every phase of Auguste Rodin’s career. Located on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway—which was intended to evoke the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris—the elegant Beaux-Arts–style building and garden offer an absorbing experience.
Now On View: Rethinking the Modern Monument
When Auguste Rodin unveiled his monument to famed French author Honoré de Balzac, one critic found its originality thrilling and likened it to a “slap in the face.” Another called it “a stupid monstrosity . . . like a polar bear standing on its hind legs.” Applauded and despised in equal measure, Rodin’s public sculptures were viewed as a shocking departure from the methods used for centuries to pay homage to famous figures, and he changed the form forever. See many of the artist’s best-known sculptures alongside works by artists who came after, inspired by the radical intimacy of his public monuments.
The Dorrance H. Hamilton Garden
The garden outside the Museum displays a total of eight works. While The Thinker and The Gates of Hell have stood in their same locations since the Museum opened in 1929, recent advances in conservation undertaken by the Philadelphia Museum of Art have permitted the return of Adam and The Shade to their original places within the arches of the Meudon Gate for the first time since 1963. The Age of Bronze and Eve have also returned to the niches they once occupied on either side of the Museum’s portico overlooking the reflecting pool. On the building’s west side, a space vacant for most of the last eighty years contains a version of the monumental The Three Shades, a generous loan from Iris and B. Gerald Cantor.