Rodin in 1915

December 29 2013

From Sacha Guitry’s film Ceux de chez nous, Those of Our Land.

Music from Chopin’s second piano concerto, performers not stated.

Was he working in 1915? Like Balzac (post here), Rodin married in the year he died.

“The footage was taken in 1915, two years before Rodin’s death. There are several sequences. The first shows the artist at the columned entrance to an unidentified structure, followed by a brief shot of him posing in a garden somewhere. The rest of the film […] was clearly shot at the palatial, but dilapidated, Hôtel Biron, which Rodin was using as a studio and second home.

“The mansion was built as a private residence in the early 18th century, and served as a Catholic school for girls from 1820 until about 1904, when it became illegal for public money to be used for religious education. When the last of the nuns cleared out, the rooms of the Hôtel Biron were rented out to a diverse group of people that included some notable artists: Jean Cocteau, Isadora Duncan, Henri Matisse and Rainer Maria Rilke, who served for a time as Rodin’s secretary. It was Rilke’s wife, the sculptor Clara Westhoff Rilke, who first told Rodin about the place in 1909.

“Rodin first rented four rooms on the main floor, but was alarmed when he learned of plans to sell the property off in pieces to developers. So he made a deal with the government: In exchange for bequeathing all his works to the French state, the sculptor was allowed to occupy the mansion for the rest of his life, and after he died, the estate would become the Musée Rodin.

“By the time actor Sacha Guitry and his cameraman arrived […], Rodin was the sole occupant of the Hôtel Biron. The film shows the 74-year-old artist walking down the weed-covered steps of the mansion and working inside, chipping away at a marble statue with a hammer and chisel. When Rodin was asked once about how he created his statues, he said, ‘I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don’t need.’”

Rodin, Aubry

Rodin photographed by Charles Hippolyte Aubry circa 1862

3 Responses to “Rodin in 1915”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    The Age of Bronze
    The Burghers of Calais
    The Cathedral
    Crouching Woman
    The Gates of Hell
    The Kiss
    Monument to Balzac
    Monument to Hugo
    Saint John the Baptist
    The Thinker
    The Three Shades
    The Walking Man

    Georges Clemenceau
    Gustav Mahler
    George Bernard Shaw

  2. davidderrick Says:

    Hands: Dürer, Michelangelo, Rodin.

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