Title: Rodin: The Shape of Genius
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 1993
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Collectible: Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included
Edition: First Edition.
Signed Nice hardback. Moderate wear to jacket. Light wear to boards. Personalized inscription (to Pat) dated and signed by author on half-title page. Owner's info pencilled on blank front endpage. Text is clean, unmarked. First edition, 1st printing. Full number line: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 (Shelf location: BC) All items carefully packed to avoid damage from moisture and rough handling. Tracking included. Bookseller Inventory # 052360
Synopsis: Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was arguably the most famous sculptor in the world in 1900 - a time when painting and painters excelled. How he reached such heights at the age of 60, and what happened when he did, are important questions that have not been closely considered in previous works of biography. In this reinterpretation of Rodin's life and times, the author draws for on closely guarded archives and family letters to disentangle the facts of his life from the myths that have grown up around them. Butler had exclusive access to a voluminous archive of unpublished letters written to Rodin by the most important people in his life - his son, his lover, Emile Zola, Claude Monet and George Bernard Shaw, amongst many others. The result is a richly textured account of the artist and his world, Paris's Left Bank at the turn of the century, in which Rodin's life is placed firmly in a historical and political context and one in which the author considers the meaning of his life, his work and his relationships.
From Kirkus Reviews: An insightful life of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) that's based on many previously unpublished letters and a fresh interpretation of familiar facts. Butler (Art/UMass at Boston) is especially perceptive about Rodin's relationships--how they inspired, energized, and influenced his art--particularly his relations with the women to whom he claimed he ``owed everything'': his sister, who died when he was 21; his companion of 51 years, Rose Beuret, whom his biographer, Judith Cladel, arranged for him to marry when they were both near death; Camille Claudel, the student whom he reputedly drove mad; wealthy married women who commissioned portraits; and dozens of models who inspired and posed for his thousands of frenetic erotic drawings. Returning to France from Brussels, where he'd began his career, Rodin stopped in Florence, where he encountered the grandeur of Michelangelo and was liberated from the Grecian academic style that prevailed in Paris. This new, more natural, and somewhat vulgar style, as well as the artist's own demanding nature, accounted for his alienation from the centers of power in the artistic community, especially from the Salon system. Nonetheless, in an age of ``statuemania,'' of nationalism and public art, Rodin created major icons: The Kiss, The Thinker, The Burghers of Calais, and The Gate of Hell, the sublime portals based on Dante and cast for a museum that was never built. Butler's special strengths are in analyzing the politics of the artistic community and the art of politics; the expensive and collaborative nature of sculpture (the space, technology, and immense amount of assistance that Rodin required); Rodin's entrepreneurial dimension; his neglect of his illegitimate son; his fame abroad (Rilke wrote his first biography) but his equivocal position in France; and his loneliness. Like Rodin's art: simplified but rounded; monumental. (Two hundred photographs) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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