Shop the Show: Rodin’s Lesser-Known Artistic Inner Circle Gets Its Due in a New Exhibition in London

See the artists who inspired, and were inspired by, the French master.

Gustinus Ambrosi, Promethidenlos (1928). Courtesy of Bowman Sculpture.

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What You Need to Know: Auguste Rodin is often referred to as the father of modern sculpture, but he remained for his entire life a devoted student of classical art. In fact, the French artist was a close study of the sculptures of Michelangelo and Donatello. He also had a number of contemporaneous influences, particularly the artists of neo-Florentine school, Paul Dubois and Antonin Mercie. “Rodin: Influenced and Inspired,” a sumptuous new exhibition at London’s Bowman Sculpture dives into the works of these lesser-known artists who informed Rodin’s approaches, as well as the artists who looked to Rodin for inspiration, including his longtime lover Camille Claudel. 

Why We Like It: Art history often plucks great artists out of the contexts of the friends, foes, teachers, critics, dealers, and collectors who were instrumental in forging these artists’ stories and careers, making it hard to grasp the real-life influences that made for greatness. Here, Rodin is set in place and time—and while several wonderful works by the artist are on view, including editions of The Kiss, Eternal Spring, and The Thinker, they are contextualized by other surprises. These include Volubilis by Alfred Boucher, an example of carving in raw marble embraced by Rodin. Boucher was actually Claudel’s first teacher and the one who convinced him to take her on as a studio assistant (a powerful work by Claudel, L’Implorante, is also on view). Other standouts include work by Gustinus Ambrosi, who is known as the “Rodin of Austria.” 

What the Gallery Says: Auguste Rodin is considered to be one of the greatest artists of all times, as well as the greatest sculptor of the 19th and 20th centuries The works by Rodin included in this exhibition will span the breadth of his artistic career, starting with his early works, such as The Vase of the Titans, completed during his apprenticeship with Carrier-Belleuse, and continuing with a selection of works derived from his first commission from the French government, The Gates of Hell. Over the course of his life, Rodin’s style and skills developed, but he still absorbed the work of his predecessors as well as his contemporaries and, in turn, went on to influence a generation of sculptors after his passing.”

Rodin: Influenced & Inspired” is on view at Bowman Sculpture in London through July 31. 

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