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Just before he died in 1917, Auguste Rodin authorized the posthumous casting of his bronzes so that his legacy would be preserved. The Musée Rodin in Paris determines what is a true and original cast and rigorously exercises this authority. By law all posthumous casts must be approved by the Musée. If approved, they are deemed “original.”
Accordingly, all of the Rodins in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection and Cantor Foundation Collection are original. Most of these artworks were commissioned directly from the Musée Rodin and were cast by its selected foundry, Coubertin.
In this exhibition each label will help you understand the origin of the piece. The label tells you when Rodin originally modeled the piece in clay or wax. Next you will see the cast number. At the time Rodin lived, artists did not number their casts and rarely limited the number of casts that could be made of a piece. Indeed, we know Rodin was happiest when he was selling scores of casts of a single work. Nearly 40 years after Rodin’s death, France enacted a law limiting the number of casts that could be made of a piece to twelve; each of these twelve is an authorized original.
Thus, when you read a label that says “Modeled 1883, Musée Rodin cast 1 in 1996,” it is telling you that Rodin created the clay model in 1883; this bronze was cast, according to Rodin’s wishes and authorization, by the Musée Rodin in 1996. The label also tells you which foundry cast the work (Coubertin, Alexis Rudier, Godard, etc.).