Starting with Rodin

André Kertész, (American (born in Hungary), 1894–1985) Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926 silver print on paper 25.2 x 20.3 cm  Image: 24.6 x 19.7 cm Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Gift of an anonymous donor, G-85-249 Photo: Ernest Mayer

Starting with Rodin brings together nearly 30 works of art from the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s permanent collection to reflect on the looming presence of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in art history, his adaptation of earlier classical themes, and impact on later modernists.

The exhibition celebrates several recent donations to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, chiefly the French sculptor’s major bronze Danaïd (1889-90) from the Salgo Trust for Education, New York. Danaïd was initially modeled for inclusion in Rodin’s monumental Gates of Hell (1880-1917), but ultimately was left freestanding and unincorporated. The bronze depicts, with a frank eroticism that is still shocking, a femme fatal who, according to Greek mythology, murders her husband. 

Rodin’s work is rife with classical references, and this exhibition brings together a wide range of experiences: artists and artisans from antique Rome, the Austrian Baroque (Paul Strudel), and French Neo-Classicism (Jean-Bertrand Andrieu), who through their rendering of the human form, anticipate the French artist’s singular approach. However, through his emphasis on the fragment, the erotic, and an aesthetic of the “unfinished,” Rodin is also widely credited as initiating modern sculpture. Visitors will also encounter the work of artists such as Florence Wyle, Henry Moore, Étienne Béothy, and other examples of European and Canadian Modernism.

Guest Curator Dr. Oliver Botar, Professor of Art History at the University of Manitoba and Curator of the Salgo Trust for Education.

Related exhibition: Rodin: The Thinker

Auguste Rodin, (French, 1840–1917), Tȇte de Danseuse, c. 1880. bronze. 11 x 9.5 x 10.8 cm. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Gift of an anonymous donor, 2015-20. Photo: Ernest Mayer

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