September 09, 2014

MAPPLETHORPE – RODIN AT MUSEE RODIN PARIS




MAPPLETHORPE – RODIN AT MUSEE RODIN PARIS
April 8, 2014 – September 21, 2014




MAPPLETHORPE – RODIN AT MUSEE RODIN PARIS
April 8, 2014 – September 21, 2014
“I see things like they were sculptures. It depends on how that form exists within the space”. Robert Mapplethorpe
In a single exhibition, the Musée Rodin brings together two forms of expression – Sculpture and Photography – through the works of two major artists: Robert Mapplethorpe and Auguste Rodin. Thanks to exceptional loans from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, this exhibition presents 50 sculptures by Rodin and a collection of 120 photographs, in a bold dialogue revealing the enduring nature of these great artists’ favourite themes and subjects.
There would appear to be little similarity between these two renowned figures, even though Mapplethorpe continually sought to sculpt the body through photography and Rodin used photography throughout his career.
Robert Mapplethorpe sought the perfect form, while Rodin attempted to capture a sense of movement in inanimate materials. There is no spontaneity in Mapplethorpe’s work, everything is constructed, whereas Rodin retains the traces of his touch and takes advantage of the accidental. One was attracted to men, the other to women, obsessively in both cases. But this did not stop Mapplethorpe from photographing female nudes, or Rodin from sculpting many male bodies.
Here, however, the differences between these two artists are instantly transformed into an unexpected dialogue. The curators have chosen seven themes, common to the work of both, revealing connections in form, theme and aesthetic. Movement and Tension, Black and White/Light and Shadow, Eroticism and Damnation are just some of the major issues running through the works of the two artists.
This exhibition invites visitors to challenge the dialogue established by the curators, and to make their own comparisons. This “sculpture and photography” approach is unprecedented, the first time such a confrontation has been presented, and looks at both photography and sculpture from a new angle.
In parallel with this, the Réunion des musées nationaux is organising a Mapplethorpe retrospective at the Grand Palais, from 22 March to 14 July 2014.
Exhibition curators
Hélène Pinet, Head of Photography Collections at the Musée Rodin
Judith Benhamou-Huet, Art critic and journalist
Hélène Marraud, Assistant curator, responsible for sculptures at the Musée Rodin
http://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/exhibition/exposition/mapplethorpe-rodin













AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917) 
NIJINSKI 1912 ( DETAIL )








AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
NU FEMININ A TETE DE FEMME SLAVE, EMERGEANT D’UN VASE – VERS 1900?
Terre Cuite et Plâtre, 28,6 x 18,6 x 12,9 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 3866 © Paris, Musée Rodin, photo C. Baraja










AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917) - ASSEMBLAGE:
NU FEMININ DEBOUT DANS UN VASE, VERS - 1900 ?,
Terre Cuite et Plâtre, 47,5 cm x 20,7 x 14 cm,
Paris, Musée Rodin, S. 379 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




KEN MOODY 1984




AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
TORSE FEMININ, DIT DU VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM - VERS, 1910-1914,
Plâtre, 63,5 x 38 x 23 cm, Paris, Musée Rodin,
S. 2895 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja






ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
ROBERT SHERMAN 1983, MAP 1236
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
TETE DELA LUXURE 1907
Plâtre, 37,8 x 30,2 x 28,3 cm, Paris
Musée Rodin, S. 1825 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja






THE CATHEDRAL 1908
Stone - H. 64 cm ; W. 29.5 cm ; D. 31.8 cm










MUSEE RODIN PARIS
















MUSEE RODIN PARIS












ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
KEN MOODY AT ROBERT SHERMAN 1984, MAP 1354
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation,Inc.
All rights reserved 
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
TETE DE LA DOULEUR - VERS 1901 – 1902
Bronze, 21,7 x 22,5 x 27 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 1127 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja












AJITTO 1981






ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
WHITE GAUZE - 1984
Map 1330 © 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
TORSE DE L’AGE D’AIRAIN DRAPE - VERS 1895
Plâtre, 78 x 49,5 x 31 cm, S. 3179
© Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




BALZAC, SECOND STUDY FOR NUDE F,
KNOWN AS NUDE AS AN ATHLETE - 1896
Bronze - H. 93.1 cm ; W. 43.5 cm ; D. 35 cm






ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
ORCHID 1982, MAP 949
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved 






ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
LUCINDA CHILDS 1985, MAP 1656
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917) ASSEMBLAGE:
DEUX MAINS GAUCHES
Plâtre, 14,5 x 10,2 x 6,3 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 1272 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989),
 ORCHID 1985 - Map 1579
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
IRIS MESSAGERE DES DIEUX – VERS 1891-1893 ?
Terre Cuite, 40,3 x 41 x 19,1 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 6629 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
NU FEMININ SORTANT D’UN POT, VERS 1900 - 1904 ?
Terre Cuite et Plâtre, 12,9 x 13,3 x 10 cm,
Paris, Musée Rodin, S. 3718 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989),
GEORGE BRADSHAW - 1980
Map 504 © 2014
Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
FEMMES DAMNEES – AVANT 1890
Plâtre, 20 x 29 x 12,1 cm, Paris, Musée Rodin,
S. 41 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




THOMAS 1987




ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
BILL T. JONES 1985, MAP 1616
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
GENIE FUNERAIRE VERS 1898
 Bronze, 85,7 x 39 x 32 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 795 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




VINCENT 1981






ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989),
FEET - 1982,  MAP 895  
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917) – PIED GAUCHE
Terre Cuite et Bois, 19,9 x 11,3 x 23,4 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 3840 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
BUSTE DE HELENE DE NOSTITZ 1902
Plâtre, 23,5 x 22,1 x 12 cm, Paris
Musée Rodin, S. 689 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja




ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989),
MICHAEL REED 1987 - MAP 1728
© 2014 Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved  
&
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
L’HOMME QUI MARCHE – VERS 1899
Bronze, 85 x 59,8 x 26,5 cm, Paris,
Musée Rodin, S. 495 © Paris, Musée Rodin, ph. C. Baraja 










ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE

Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, "I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave." 

In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt "it was more honest." That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, "Polaroids." Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine. 

In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don't like that particular word 'shocking.' I'm looking for the unexpected. I'm looking for things I've never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them." Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer. 

Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book,Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs' dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists. 
That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989. His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
http://www.mapplethorpe.org/biography/
















RODIN AND PHOTOGRAPHY
STATUS AND USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Almost twenty years after Nicéphore Niepce’s early experiments, photography officially entered the annals of history on 7 January 1839, when François Arago, physicist, astronomer and Republican member of the French Assembly, presented the “daguerreotype”, a process invented by Louis-Jacques Daguerre, to the Parisian Academy of Science. From then on, there was an open debate, especially within the walls of France’s Academy of Fine Arts, between the supporters and detractors of this new means of producing images. The basic argument revolved around the following questions: was photography a “mechanical” tool for capturing reality, or did it leave room for an interpretative and expressive approach? In other words, was a photograph a document or a work of art? While Pictorialist photographers such as Stieglitz, Käsebier, Langdon Coburn and Steichen endeavoured to have photography recognized as an artistic medium in the 1890s, this status was not really acquired until after World War II.
Moreover, a rapport between photography and sculpture very soon emerged. From the 1840s onwards, pioneering photographers, including Niépce, Daguerre, William Henry Fox Talbot and Hippolyte Bayard, found that the ornamental plaster or marble statuettes favoured in middle-class homes made ideal photographic subjects. To quote Fox Talbot: “Statues, busts, and other specimens of sculpture, are generally well represented by the Photographic Art; and also very rapidly in consequence of their whiteness. These delineations are susceptible of an almost unlimited variety: since in the first place, a statue may be placed in any position with regard to the sun, either directly opposite to it, or at any angle: the directness or obliquity of the illumination causing of course an immense difference in the effect.” (The Pencil of Nature, London, Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1844)
EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENCE: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE AGE OF BRONZE
Photography’s affinity with sculpture, as well as its documentary and evidential value, may explain Rodin’s early interest in this new medium. In 1877, his submission to the Paris Salon, The Age of Bronze, was the subject of huge controversy. Its critics accused Rodin of not having modelled this male figure, but of having used a life cast. The sculptor reacted by employing photographer Gaudenzio Marconi, who supplied art students with images, to take a series of shots of both the plaster version of The Age of Bronze and Auguste Neyt, the model who had posed for the work, so that they could be used as proof in his defence. This decision shows how irrefutable Rodin considered photographic evidence to be. In fact, as Michel Frizot explains, he chose to prove his innocence, not by producing a live cast of the actual model in the same pose, but by comparing photographs of the plaster version of the work and the sitter.
On several occasions Rodin made remarks expressing his reservations about photography, limiting it to its capacity for accuracy and elementary realism, not considering it to be a means of expression or artistic discipline in its own right. His famous outburst against photography “which lies”, as related by Paul Gsell, is a brilliant illustration of his standpoint:
“If, in fact, in instantaneous photographs, the figures, though taken while moving, seem suddenly fixed in mid-air, it is because, all parts of the body being reproduced exactly at the same twentieth or fortieth of a second, there is no progressive development of movement as there is in art. […] it is the artist who is truthful and it is photography which lies, for in reality time does not stop, and if the artist succeeds in producing the impression of a movement which takes several moments for accomplishment, his work is certainly much less conventional than the scientific image, where time is abruptly suspended.”
Rodin’s concept of photography was in line with the prevailing views held in his day: photography’s merit lay in its documentary precision, its ability to reproduce mechanically, faithfully and with neutrality,and not in any artistic capacity. Yet the photographic image, strictly factual and documentary in Rodin’s eyes at the time of The Age of Bronze, would soon become part of and then influence his creative process, although he apparently never used a camera himself. As the medium that put his works into public circulation, photography also helped maintain his reputation as an artist.
RODIN, COLLECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHS
Rodin was a keen collector and an imaginative user of photography. By the end of his life, his collection and archives numbered no less than 7,000 prints. The nature and quality of these photographs differ, combining documentary and artistic images. Their themes and subjects are worth commenting upon further.
1) Rodin’s collection of photographs includes pictures of architecture, landscapes and academic nudes assembled by the sculptor himself. Although these photographs are very good quality, they are not the outstanding feature of his collection: rather, part of a stock of photographs used by artists of his period in the elaboration of their compositions.
2) Photographing artworks became popular in the 1850s. As was common practice among sculptors during this period, Rodin had his works photographed as soon as they were shown at the Salons, from the early 1870s onwards. These pictures were intended for his own personal archives, for his patrons or the purchasers of his sculptures, as well as for publication in art reviews to ensure his works reached a broader public. Rodin employed specialist photographers, such as Gaudanzio Marconi, Karl Bodmer, Victor Pannelier and E. Freuler....
An objective viewpoint, direct lighting and precise contours were the main characteristics of these photographs that kept track of his studio production, essentially during the period of Rodin’s commissions for monuments in the 1880s, when his activity had increased to such a point that he was using four studios, in and around the Dépôt des Marbres. These photographs, sometimes kept together in a file, enabled Rodin to follow the different stages in the gestation of a sculpture, as did the clay models from which he had plaster casts made.
Although Rodin used photography mainly for documentary purposes at this time, he soon began looking for photographers who were other than simple technicians and could propose a more artistic vision of his work. In 1896, he thus employed Eugène Druet, an amateur photographer and the owner of café that Rodin had patronized since 1893. In 1900, after the two men had temporarily fallen out while preparing for the exhibition in the Pavillon de l’Alma, Jean Limet, another amateur photographer and the patinator of Rodin’s bronzes, was commissioned to take the photographs to be published in the catalogue. The remarkable fruits of his investigations into colour can be seen in his bichromated-gelatin prints.
Encouraged by Rodin, Druet became a picture dealer in 1903. The sculptor then signed a contract with the publisher Jacques-Ernest Bulloz, who brought out a portfolio of photographs of Rodin’s sculptures that same year.
In 1896, at an exhibition held at the Musée Rath, in Geneva, Rodin showed photographs for the first time alongside his sculptures and drawings. He was so pleased with the experience that he repeated it, notably at the Pavillon de l’Alma exhibition, where 71 photographs were displayed next to his sculptures and drawings.
3) Rodin frequently retouched the photos of his sculptures in pencil, pen or with a brush, but for several different reasons:
Some of the pencil or ink amendments indicated the corrections to be given to the photographer (e.g. to emphasize a shadow), or to the engraver when the photograph was to be published. For Rodin, retouching a photo was often a vigorous exercise, as his pen strokes inked out whole areas of the image.
The sculptor also used retouched photographs as a starting point for his illustrations of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil.
Many of these photos with amendments correspond to Rodin’s different ideas about the work in progress: photography was a tool that helped him to project a mental image of the sculpture. Rodin gave his photographers strict instructions as to how he wanted these photographs to be taken. They served as an aid in the gestation of a sculpture. The amendments Rodin made to them represented the changes that he envisaged making. This rapid retouching of the photos in pen, pencil or ink wash enabled him to fix in his mind exactly what he wanted to do before reworking the plasters. According to Michel Frizot, Rodin regarded the photographic medium as “a transaction surface” that allowed him to rework a creative idea visually rather than manually.
Some of these modifications, however, were never transposed onto the sculptures, and the photographs thus retouched, notably with gouache to isolate the figure, in which the image became an end in itself, acquired the status of artworks in their own right.
4) Rodin proved to be very sensitive to how other artists regarded his works. Among the photographers with whom he preferred working were Edward Steichen, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Gertrüd Käsebier, Stephen Haweis and Henry Coles.
A REDISCOVERED COLLECTION
On Rodin’s death in 1917, his archives and collection of photographs sank into oblivion, despite the numerous acquisitions made by Léonce Bénédite, the Musée Rodin’s first curator, who completed the existent, already substantial, body of work. Rediscovered in the late 1960s, it was not truly brought to light again until the 1970s.
In 1979, an article on Druet was included in the catalogue of a Rodin exhibition held in East Berlin. In 1981, the photographs of Rodin’s works featured prominently in the vast Rodin retrospective organized in Washington by Albert Elsen and Kirk Varnedoe.
Since the 1880s, the Musée Rodin has laid the emphasis on studying, conserving and highlighting the importance of the photographic collections and archives. Today these contain approximately 25,000 photgraphs.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Auguste Rodin, Paul Gsell, Rodin on Art and Artists: Conversations with Paul Gsell, Courier Dover Publications, 1983.
Rodin, under the direction of Claude Keisch, exhibition catalogue, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, 1979.
Rodin Rediscovered, under the direction of Albert E. Elsen, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1981.
Les photographes de Rodin, under the direction of Monique Laurent. Catalogue by Hélène Pinet, Photography Department, Musée Rodin, Paris, 1986.
Rodin en 1900. L’exposition de l’Alma, exhibition catalogue, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, 2001.
Rodin et la photographie, under the direction of Hélène Pinet, Gallimard/Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007. Notably Michel Frizot, “La photographie, une surface de transaction” (pp. 14-17), and Hélène Pinet, “Dans l’atelier. L’œil du photographe. Le regard de Rodin” (pp. 24-29).
Sculpter-photographier. Photographie-sculpture, Proceedings of the conference held at the Louvre under the direction of Michel Frizot and Dominique Païni, éditions Marval/Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1993. Notably Hélène Pinet, “La sculpture, la photographie et le critique” (pp. 85-92).
You may visit Musee Rodin’s web page to have more information about Auguste Rodin to click above link.