A turning point
Rodin is appointed Knight of the Order of Leopold of Belgium.
To coincide with the Exposition Universelle, he decides to organize his first solo exhibition in France in a pavilion specially built for the occasion on the Place de l’Alma, Paris. Almost one and a half month after the official opening of the Exposition universelle, Rodin inaugurates his own exhibition : artists, politics, connoisseurs and collectors, men of letters and journalists, musicians and dancers of all the nationalities attend the lesson of the sculptor.
M. Bauche, Rodin in the Pavillon de l'Alma, 1900, [Ph.00790]
The Rodin Pavilion is dismantled and reconstructed in the grounds of the Villa des Brillants, in Meudon. It is converted into a studio.
A major exhibition of Eugène Druet’s photographs of Rodin’s works is held at the Galerie des Artistes Modernes.
Harry C. Ellis, Rodin in front of the showcases of the Pavillon de l’Alma, Meudon, circa 1902, [Ph.00015]
Major “Rodin” exhibition in Prague.
The sculptor meets the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), whom he employs as a secretary from 15 September 1905 to 12 May 1906.
Rodin illustrates the second edition of Octave Mirbeau’s Le Jardin des supplices (The Torture Garden). The lithographs are printed by Auguste Clot (1858-1936).
Rudolf Bruner Dvorak, Rodin at the opening of his exhibition in the Mánes Union of Artists Pavilion, Prague, estimated 1902, [Ph.03541]
Rodin is named Commander of the Legion of Honour. To celebrate his decoration, Bourdelle organizes a banquet in his honour in the Bois de Vélizy.
His international reputation attracts a new affluent celebrity clientele, who soon commission works from him. Wealthy society women flock to his studio to sit for their portrait busts. Because of its refinement and elegance, Rodin often prefers to use marble for his portraits of women.
E. Bieber, Portrait of Hélène de Nostitz, circa 1902, [Ph.01913]
Lured by the easy pleasures of society life, Rodin makes many amatory conquests, including the Duchesse de Choiseul, from whom he would separate in 1912.
Albert Durand, The Duchess of Choiseul with an umbrella seated on a bench, undated, [Ph.00040]
First exhibition of The Thinker (large-scale plaster version) at the International Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers, London, then at the Paris Salon (bronze version).
Liaison with Gwendolen Mary John (1876–1939), a Welsh painter and woman of letters, who posed for the figure of the Muse in the Monument to Whistler.
Takes part in the International Art Exhibition in Düsseldorf.
Rodin is appointed member of the Conseil Supérieur des Beaux-Arts. The University of Jena awards him an honorary doctorate.
Rodin is awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow and appointed member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin.
The Thinker is erected outside the Panthéon.
Marcel Hutin, Unveiling of The Thinker outside the Panthéon, 1906, [Ph.00754]
Meets the Japanese dancer Hanako (1868–1945), who first poses for him in 1907.
Auguste Rodin, Five Studies of Cambodian Dancers, 1906, [D.4517]
Oxford University awards Rodin an honorary doctorate.
First exhibition solely of Rodin’s drawings, at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris. Walking Man (large plaster) is shown at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
Models The Ark of the Covenant, later entitled The Cathedral.
Rainer Maria Rilke tells Rodin about the Hôtel Biron. Threatened with demolition, this neglected former 18th-century mansion, flanked by buildings that have since been destroyed, was in the hands of the receiver and temporarily leased to various artists and writers for a very low rent. The sculptor decides to move in. He uses the premises to receive admirers, journalists, art dealers and collectors rather than as a workplace.Dans le jardin, retourné à l'état sauvage, Rodin avait dispersé quelques antiques de sa collection.
The Hôtel Biron, on the garden side, undated, [Ph.01367]
Major exhibitions of Rodin’s drawings in Vienna, Leipzig and Paris.