Auguste Rodin

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Auguste Rodin : biography

12 November 1840 – 1 November 1917

Portraiture was an important component of Rodin’s oeuvre, helping him to win acceptance and financial independence.Hale, 82. His first sculpture was a bust of his father in 1860, and he produced at least 56 portraits between 1877 and his death in 1917. Early subjects included fellow sculptor Jules Dalou (1883) and companion Camille Claudel (1884).

Later, with his reputation established, Rodin made busts of prominent contemporaries such as English politician George Wyndham (1905), Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1906), Austrian composer Gustav Mahler (1909), former Argentinian president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and French statesman Georges Clemenceau (1911).

Biography

Formative years

Rodin was born in 1840 into a working-class family in Paris, the second child of Marie Cheffer and Jean-Baptiste Rodin, who was a police department clerk. He was largely self-educated,"(François) Auguste (René) Rodin." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. St. James Press, 1990. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2006. and began to draw at age ten. Between ages 14 and 17, Rodin attended the Petite École, a school specializing in art and mathematics, where he studied drawing and painting. His drawing teacher, Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, believed in first developing the personality of his students so that they observed with their own eyes and drew from their recollections. Rodin still expressed appreciation for his teacher much later in life.Jianou & Goldscheider, 31. It was at Petite École that he first met Jules Dalou and Alphonse Legros.

In 1857, Rodin submitted a clay model of a companion to the Grand École in an attempt to win entrance; he did not succeed, and two further applications were also denied. Given that entrance requirements at the Grand École were not particularly high,Hale, 40. the rejections were considerable setbacks. Rodin’s inability to gain entrance may have been due to the judges’ Neoclassical tastes, while Rodin had been schooled in light, 18th-century sculpture. Leaving the Petite École in 1857, Rodin would earn a living as a craftsman and ornamenter for most of the next two decades, producing decorative objects and architectural embellishments.

Rodin’s sister Maria, two years his senior, died of peritonitis in a convent in 1862. Her brother was anguished, and felt guilty because he had introduced Maria to an unfaithful suitor. Turning away from art, Rodin briefly joined a Catholic order, the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Saint Peter Julian Eymard, founder and head of the congregation, recognized Rodin’s talent and, sensing his lack of suitability for the order, encouraged Rodin to continue with his sculpture. He returned to work as a decorator, while taking classes with animal sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye. The teacher’s attention to detail – his finely rendered musculature of animals in motion – significantly influenced Rodin.

In 1864, Rodin began to live with a young seamstress named Rose Beuret, with whom he would stay – with ranging commitment – for the rest of his life. The couple had a son, Auguste-Eugène Beuret (1866–1934).Date of death from Elsen, 206. That year, Rodin offered his first sculpture for exhibition, and entered the studio of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, a successful mass producer of objets d’art. Rodin worked as Carrier-Belleuse’ chief assistant until 1870, designing roof decorations and staircase and doorway embellishments. With the arrival of the Franco-Prussian War, Rodin was called to serve in the National Guard, but his service was brief due to his near-sightedness.Jianou & Goldscheider, 34. Decorators’ work had dwindled because of the war, yet Rodin needed to support his family; poverty was a continual difficulty for Rodin until about the age of 30.Jianou & Goldscheider, 35. Carrier-Belleuse soon asked Rodin to join him in Belgium, where they would work on ornamentation for Brussels’ bourse.