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The great years of creation
Rodin begins to frequent artistic and literary circles, notably the salon of Mme Adam (1836-1936, born Juliette Lamber), a woman of letters who founded La Nouvelle revue in 1879.
He moves into his first studio at the Dépôt des Marbres, 182, rue de l’Université, which he would keep for the rest of his life.
The Gates of Hell, study, [Ph.02098]
Thanks to recommendations made by Rodin’s friends, the French government purchases a cast of The Age of Bronze for the sum of 2,000 francs in 1880, then commissions him to design a portal for a future museum of decorative arts.
Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, Rodin would work on The Gates of Hell project for the rest of his life, without ever delivering it or seeing it cast in bronze. The Gates would remain a repertory of figures – constantly reworked, rearranged and modified – which Rodin gradually built up and was to draw on throughout his career.
The French government purchases a bronze cast of Saint John the Baptist.
First visit to England during which the etcher Alphonse Legros introduces him to engraving. On his advice, Rodin tries his hand at several dry-point etchings.
Models the figures of Adam (plaster), Ève (bronze) and The Thinker (bronze).
Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, bronze, medium model, 1881-1882, [S.01131]
Designs a sculptural group depicting a couple entwined in each other’s arms, their lips joined in a kiss, to be fitted onto the lower left door of The Gates of Hell.. Subsequently called The Kiss, the work would remain on The Gates until 1886.
Charles Bodmer, The Kiss, estimated 1882, [Ph.10155]
Meets Camille Claudel, then aged 19. No documents establishing the exact date on which they met, or even how they actually came to meet, have yet been found. Rodin is fascinated by his new pupil’s fiery personality and outstanding talent.
Death of his father, Jean-Baptiste Rodin.
César, Portrait of Camille Claudel, estimated 1884, [Ph.01029]
The city of Calais commissions a monument to commemorate Eustache de Saint Pierre, which would become the Monument to The Burghers of Calais.
Eugène Druet, Monument to The Burghers of Calais, estimated 1896, [Ph.03373]
The city of Santiago (Chile) commissions Monuments to Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna and General Lynch.
Charles Bodmer, Model of the Monument to Vicuna Mackenna, estimated 1886, [Ph.00337]
Rodin illustrates Paul Gallimard’s copy of The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire.
Page of The Flowers of Evil illustrated by Rodin, 1887-1888, [D.7174]
The French government commissions a marble version of The Kiss, for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889.
Rodin in his studio, leaning on The Kiss, circa 1888-1889 [Ph.00016]
Rodin is one of the founder members of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
“Claude Monet – Auguste Rodin” exhibition is held at the Galerie Georges Petit.
Commission for the Monument to Claude Lorrain, unveiled in Nancy in 1892.
Commission for Monument to Victor Hugo to be erected at the Panthéon, Paris.
Adolphe Braun, Portait of Rodin with a crew cut, estimated 1889, [Ph.00168]
His Monument to Victor Hugo is rejected.
Auguste Rodin, Monument to Victor Hugo, first project, second study, sketch, march 1890 [S.01073]
While Rodin works on a new model for the Monument to Victor Hugo, for the Panthéon, Paris, a cast of his initial project is commissioned for a public park.
The Société des Gens de Lettres commissions him to design a Monument to Honoré Balzac.
Anonymous, Driver from Tours, model of the Balzac, [Ph.01218]
Rodin succeeds Dalou as vice-president of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and president of the sculpture section.
He employs the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle as his studio assistant.
Rodin is invited to Claude Monet’s home in Giverny, where he meets Paul Cézanne.
Commission for the Monument to Sarmiento, to be erected in Buenos Aires (Argentina), and unveiled in 1900.
Eugène Druet, Monument to Sarmiento, 1895, [Ph.01368]
Weary of official and social obligations in Paris, Rodin purchases the Villa des Brillants, in Meudon, which he has rented since 1893. In Meudon, he is, however, still within close proximity of his studios, to which he can commute by train or boat.
Rodin in front of the studio at the Dépôt des Marbres, on the courtyard side, circa 1900, [Ph.00021]
Starts to build up his collection of antiques and paintings. He soon assembles a large number of objects from different civilizations and areas, purchased through dealers, at public sales or from private collectors.
Unveiling of the Monument to the Burghers of Calais, in Calais.
Albert Harlingue, Rodin in front of his collection of antiques, circa 1910, [Ph.00007]
"Rodin, Puvis de Chavannes, Carrière" exhibition at the Musée Rath, Geneva.
Maurice Fenaille, one of his patrons, finances the publication of a volume of 142 drawings by Rodin, with a preface by Octave Mirbeau, known as the “Goupil Album” (named after the publisher).
The Monument to Victor Hugo is shown at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
Eugène Druet, Monument to Victor Hugo at Salon de la Société nationale des Beaux-Arts, circa 1910, [Ph.00007]
Rodin ends his relationship with Camille Claudel permanently.
The Société des Gens de Lettres refuses the plaster of Balzac, shown at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
The sculptures of Mr.Rodin at the Salon, L'Illustration, 14 mai 1898
Rodin receives the commission for the Monument to Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.
First solo exhibition in Brussels (Belgium), then Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague (the Netherlands).
The large bronze Ève is shown at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
Jean Limet, Monument to Puvis de Chavannes, undated, [Ph.00384]