Culture & Events

Rodin comes to Waikato Museum

Auguste Rodin, Eve, bronze, 1882, Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

French sculptor Auguste Rodin is one of the world’s most well-known artists, and his work had a profound influence on the development of modern art. Born in 1840, he went on to produce some of the world’s best known and most celebrated sculptures including The Age of Bronze (1876), The Thinker (1880) and The Kiss (1882).

By 1900, anyone who was anyone would include a visit to Rodin’s studio on their itinerary in Paris. He was the sculptor of superstars – from modern dancer Isadora Duncan to President Georges Clemenceau, to playwright and social critic George Bernard Shaw. The world-renowned artist died in 1917.

Rodin’s sculptures are normally found in the large metropolitan museums of Europe and the United States but on this occasion an important work has found its way to Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

Developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Remembering Rodin Te Whakamahara ki a Rodin showcases New Zealand’s most significant Rodin sculpture, Eve (1882), a work that has been appreciated by fellow artists, experts, scholars and connoisseurs for many years.

The exhibition opens at Waikato Museum tomorrow (Saturday 5 September) and is on until Sunday 6 December.

As Te Papa’s Head of Art, Charlotte Davy has noted, “Rodin is accessible, relevant, powerful and universal.”

Eve relates to Rodin’s famous master work, The Gates of Hell. The female figure is hunched in despair, a very ‘Rodinesque’ pose, showing humankind’s humiliation following the expulsion from paradise. It’s a beautiful image, but a tragic, melancholic, timeless one too.

Also included in the exhibition is a reproduction print of a lithographic portrait of Rodin (1914) by his famous near contemporary Pierre-Auguste Renoir, along with an extremely handsome and rare leather-bound edition of Gustave Coquiot’s Rodin (Paris, 1915) with 57 hand-tipped photographs.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says, “We’re thrilled and privileged to host this exhibition in Hamilton so that visitors here can have the rare pleasure of seeing an iconic work by one of the world’s master sculptors.”

Remembering Rodin Te Whakamahara ki a Rodin is developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Gallery Hours: Waikato Museum is open every day, 10am-5pm.

Image: Auguste Rodin, Eve, bronze, 1882, Collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

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