FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Rodin Exhibition Headlines Summer Line-Up at LUMA
French Themes Shows Unveiled on June 13
CHICAGO, June 1, 2009 — On Saturday, June 13, the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) will unveil Rodin: In His Own Words Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and Paris-Chicago: The Photography of Jean-Christophe Ballot-An Architectural Dialogue. Both French-themed exhibitions will be on display through Sunday, August 16, 2009.
Rodin: In His Own Words-Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation
This traveling exhibition, organized and made possible by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, has toured the United States since 2004 and is making its final stop at LUMA. A collection of 36 of Auguste Rodin’s bronze sculptures paired with his published writings and original letters, the exhibition presents a vibrant image of Rodin’s artistic vision. The exhibition also includes a ten-part illustration of the lost-wax casting process, four books, two letters, and large canvas photo murals. A film on the creation of Rodin’s masterpiece, The Gates of Hell, will also be shown.
Although many examples of Rodin’s work are currently displayed in Chicago museums, this unique presentation is the first large-scale Rodin exhibition in the city in more than 20 years.
Rodin-Larger than Life
Auguste Rodin (born François-Auguste-René Rodin in 1840) was revered and respected by his contemporaries. To this day, he remains widely recognized outside the art world. This recognition is due in part to the pervasive reproduction in popular culture of his sculpture The Thinker, which has been adapted to everything from cartoons to neckties.
Rodin’s relationships with his lifelong companion, Rose Beuret, and the artist Camille Claudel, as well as his friendships with famous artists, writers, and statesmen of his time, have been the subject of a number of books and films and have enhanced the artist’s larger-than-life stature. In addition to Rodin’s success as a sculptor, during his lifetime his views on art were greatly respected and disseminated through several books (written both by the artist and by biographers), in interviews, and in countless letters. Presented together in this exhibition, these texts offer a rare insight into the great sculptor and his work.
History of Rodin’s Work
Rodin broke from the long-standing 18th- and 19th-century traditions of representing mythological themes in a formulaic, stylistic manner, and thus encountered early criticism of his work. Whereas many contemporary artists had attempted to express the ideal, Rodin cast sculptures with a highly individualistic and expressive surface, celebrating the human spirit by clearly depicting a range of human emotions and physicality. The artist also emphasized the humanness of his craft. A characteristic of Rodin’s bronzes is the lingering presence of his own hands on the original clay models. Regardless of subject matter or scale, each sculpture in its subsequent casts clearly shows the working of the clay.
In 1916, a year prior to Rodin’s death, the artist formally, and legally, left to the French government all the works in his possession, including his plaster models and the rights of reproduction. In doing so, the Musée Rodin (a French, state-owned museum) was given the right to create posthumous casts from each of the existing plaster maquettes in the estate. In 1956, French law limited the production to 12 casts of each piece.
The Cantor Collection is Born
B. Gerald Cantor, the founder of Cantor Fitzgerald-a global financial services firm-began his collection of Rodin’s work in 1945 after he was deeply moved by the sight of Rodin’s The Hand of God at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Cantor purchased a bronze version of this sculpture and eventually came to assemble the world’s largest and most comprehensive private collection of Rodin’s work. He and his wife, Iris, have accumulated approximately 750 Rodin sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and memorabilia. Museums all over the country have benefited from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation’s gifts of over 450 works by Rodin, and Iris Cantor continues the family’s legacy through loans from the collection.
Rodin: In His Own Words-Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation is generously sponsored by Baxter International Inc., with additional support from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
Paris-Chicago: The Photography of Jean-Christophe Ballot-An Architectural Dialogue
In this exhibition, prominent French architectural photographer Jean-Christophe Ballot celebrates the unique relationship between sister cities Chicago and Paris. Concentrating on the formal elements of light, volume, and composition, the artist juxtaposes views of the two cities in a visual dialogue. When presented side by side, the black-and-white photographs, which capture the historic architecture of Paris and include subjects from the Louvre, the Musée Rodin, and Rodin’s studio in Meudon, provide a stark contrast to Chicago’s 20th-century architecture.
In 2006, Jean-Christophe Ballot photographed the city of Chicago for inclusion in his mid-career retrospective, Urban Landscapes, at Paris’s prestigious Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP). Only a few of the Chicago images were displayed there, making this exhibition the first to show the full range of his Chicago photography.
Ballot, who began using a camera at age four, still shoots with a traditional 4 x 5 view camera and often prints in black and white to enhance the interplay of light and shadows. His sensitivity to the demanding nature of architectural photography comes from his formal training as an architect.
His work is included in collections in Chicago (Art Institute, Field Museum, and Loyola University Museum of Art), New York (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Paris (Carnavalet Museum, European House of Photography, the Louvre, Musée Rodin, the National Collection of Contemporary Art, the National Library, l’Orangerie, the Palais de Tokyo, and the Petit Palais, among others).
This exhibition is being held in partnership with the Alliance Française de Chicago, the French Cultural Services in Chicago, and the City of Paris -Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional promotional support is provided by the Paris Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International Program. The exhibition is organized by Jennifer Norback of Fine Art, Inc. Paris-Chicago is also partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
Museum hours are Tuesday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: $6 general; $5 for seniors; free for students under 25 with ID; free admission on Tuesdays. For more information, call 312.915.7600 or visit LUC.edu/luma.
To view a list of public programs and other events associated with these two exhibitions, please visit LUC.edu/luma/Event_calendar_page/events.html.
The Loyola University Museum of Art, opened in October 2005, is dedicated to the exploration, promotion, and understanding of art and artistic expression that attempts to illuminate the enduring spiritual questions and concerns of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping men and women of all creeds explore the roots of their own faith and spiritual quest. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first, second, and third floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at LUC.edu/luma.