An exhibit of works of the consummate outsider, whose sculptures peal throughout the ages, opens Friday, July 12, at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Rodin: Muses, Sirens, Lovers/Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections, includes 40 bronzes of the female form and represents models, lovers and others who have sashayed in and out of the life of Francois Auguste Rene Rodin.

“His first works were controversial because of his subjects and styles,” said David Stark, chief curator at CMA, 480 E. Broad St. in downtown Columbus.

General admission to the museum is $18, $8 for seniors 60 and older, students and children 4 and older.

Admission to the Rodin exhibit is $8, and the ticket also may be used for access to two other special exhibits at the museum.

Rodin, who died at 77 in 1917, toiled in relative obscurity until age 30. He began to draw when he was 10 and studied at the Petite Ecole and spent much of his early life producing housing ornamentation while continuing to sculpt.

“You could say (he was) an outsider, and before he became at least moderately successful, he worked as an assistant for other sculptors and did decorative sculpture for interiors and buildings,” Stark said.

Stark said Rodin’s work was influenced by the works in ancient Greece and Rome and Italian sculptor and artist Michelangelo.

Rodin worked directly in clay and sometimes also plaster and wax, as the first step toward a finished 3D work of art, according to information from the museum, which added that the finished piece then would be carved in marble and sometimes cast in bronze.

That is evident in many of his works, including the world renowned, “The Thinker,” sculpture depicting a man sitting, his chin resting on his fist. That work will not be in the Columbus exhibit.

One of the pieces commissioned for “Gates of Hell” will be on display.

Five of Rodin’s pieces are on permanent collection at the museum and will be positioned in a nearby room because they are not part of the exhibit, Stark said.

Judith Sobol, curator of collections and exhibitions for the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, is the guest curator for the exhibit.

Stark said the pieces were carefully selected, and Sobol “aimed to choose the best.”

“People will really respond to the works of an artist who was really interesting in terms of his life and career and in terms of different themes and subject matter of his art,” he said.

Rodin spent his later years in the Hotel Biron and a studio in Meudon, a Paris suburb. Both are sites of the Musee Rodin, Stark said.

“Rodin still kept to his privacy,” Stark said. “His studio certainly attracted, in some cases, high society – the literati, important artists, literary figures – but he didn’t host a lot of parties.”

“Rodin is the father of modern sculpture,” said Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director of CMA. “He is a key figure for modernism. You can’t understand modernism without Rodin. European and American modernism is the heart of the Columbus Museum of Art’s collection.

“We have five Rodin sculptures that will also be on view during the exhibition. I love when I can present works new to people in special exhibitions while helping to deepen their understanding of our collection.”

The exhibit runs through Dec. 8.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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