Stepping out to the damp gray cold of January, into the central court of the place we’re staying in – graciously offered by a friend’s parents, we move along to the Metro for another day of museums. This day was the August Rodin museum, south of the Seine.
I’d been there before, many years ago, as well as seen a lovely exhibition at the Villa Medici in Rome still longer ago. And naturally seen the occasional piece here and there, in museums or otherwise. Like really good work, one can come back again and again, and be stunned by his capacity to capture the core of character and life in the hard materials of his art. His work, particularly the ensembles of multiple figures, is effectively cinematic, alive with tensions and interchanges between the figures, the spaces they fill. Truly wonderful work.
The museum was also showing a collection of Henry Moore pieces in the context of his studio work – macquettes, plaster versions in preparation, and the like. For a “muscular” sculptor like Moore the setting next to Rodin was frankly unfortunate, and made his work seem weak by comparison, as well as rather dated. While Rodin’s work is clearly of its time, this comes across as a strength. In Moore’s case it’s the opposite.
Unfortunately we’ll just be missing the installation at the Louvre Pyramid of a very large scale work by another British (though living for some time in Germany) sculptor, Tony Cragg. It opens in the next days, just as we are leaving.
[The above are a few of the 200 pictures I took of his work that afternoon: Rodin makes it easy.]