The exhibition is produced by the MMFA in collaboration with the Musée Rodin.

It is being circulated by the MMFA to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (May 16 – September 5, 2016).

Produced and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in  collaboration with the Musée Rodin, Paris, this is the biggest exhibition devoted to Rodin ever presented in Canada.

With a total of 300 works, it features special loans from the Musée Rodin, such as the monumental plasters The Thinker, The Walking Man, Eve and Meditation, as well as a number of splendid vessels and “flowers” that are being presented in North America for the first time. The show includes 171 sculptures, sketches, watercolours, as well as a selection of prints from the recently acquired collection of seventy photographs by Eugène Druet, a photographer who worked closely with Rodin.


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Walking Man

In North America for the first time!

A special loan from the Musée Rodin for the exhibition Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio, this monumental plaster is being presented in North America for the first time! In French.


Rodin Mobile Site

Rodin Mobile Site

To enhance your Museum experience, access the wall labels and panels for the exhibition Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio on your mobile device during your visit. You’ll know all there is to know about Rodin!

Once you enter the galleries, go to

Enjoy your visit!

The mobile site was produced as part of the Plan culturel numérique du Québec.

Auguste Rodin

Born in Paris into a modest milieu, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was trained as an ornamentalist sculptor before entering the studios of celebrated Second Empire artists, the most prominent of whom was the Neo-Baroque Carrier-Belleuse. Engaged by others to perform thankless tasks, Rodin was not discovered by the critics until the late 1870s, with the revelation of his Age of Bronze.

Major public commissions, notably the Dantean project Gates of Hell (1880), intended for a decorative arts museum in Paris, enabled him to break through, often in an aura of scandal. Although this commission was eventually cancelled, the people depicted in its composition escaped to serve as a lexicon of forms that the sculptor endlessly recycled, transformed and metamorphosed.

His genius made its mark on France and abroad in 1900, when he was invited to present, in connection with the Exposition universelle in Paris, a revolutionary retrospective of his work in the Pavillon de l’Alma. The nascent twentieth century recognized in him a major artist, and his work has been collected passionately in France, Germany, England, the United States and Canada ever since.

“We are workers whose day never ends.”

– Auguste Rodin


The Hand of the Master

The Hand of God, the marble masterpiece in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in which the fingers of the demiurge emerge from inert material as though to bring forth humanity’s first couple, introduces this reflection on the studio. Rodin is reflecting on the evocative power of the creative hand that births, caresses, threatens or destroys the models that have just been created. It is the artist who transforms the substance, modelling it, lending strength and life to the figures.

Plaster, Rodin’s World

The mere mention of moulds raises infinite possibilities of repetition, fragmentation, assemblage and enlargement – all common peripheral studio practices that Rodin was well acquainted with. But he placed them at the centre of his creative process, making way for chance, intuition, experimentation and study, in keeping with an unprecedented principle of continuous creation.

For Rodin’s work of creation and repetition, plaster remained a fundamental material. He gradually became more involved in exploiting a repertoire of earlier realizations than in creating new ones, and this maturation process became the backbone of his oeuvre.

Marble and Technicians

Although it seems that Rodin only rarely worked with tools himself, he attentively supervised the transposition of his sculptures into stone. A demanding, even difficult foreman, he nonetheless recognized the qualities of his best technicians, students and friends, like Jules Desbois and Antoine Bourdelle. He entrusted his modellos to the well-trained chisel of excellent sculptors who worked for him to make ends meet and whose now-forgotten names, like that of Jean Escoula, deserve mention.

Rodin and His Models

The model played a vital role in Rodin’s studio, which was at once a place for living and creating. “How to describe this flesh which makes me so attentive?” wrote Rodin on one drawing. One of the prime activities in Rodin’s studio was working with live models who dispensed with academic conventions in their movements. To capture a pose or a detail, Rodin executed many pencil sketches without looking down at his sheet of paper.

Bronze and Founders

Bronze, a crucial material in the career of every late nineteenth-century sculptor, inspired Rodin with the richness of its effects and its commercial potential – there were six hundred foundries in France at that time. He worked with many founders, the most important being Barbedienne, Perzinka and the Rudiers (François, then Eugène). Bringing together examples of these artisans’ work reveals the wide range of knowledge and experience serving the artist’s vision. It is an opportunity to take a different look at some works from among Rodin’s most famous ones – The Age of Bronze, The Kiss and Eternal Springtime – from a technical point of view (early and recent editions, metal proof, sand-casting, etc.).

Eugène Druet

The exhibition Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio provides the Museum with the unique opportunity to unveil its collection of photographs of Rodin’s works taken during the artist’s lifetime by Eugène Druet (1868-1917). Druet met Rodin in 1896, and the two collaborated to create and sell the images featuring the artist’s plaster, marble and bronze works in carefully staged settings. Today, this series is the most important set of his photographs after the collections of the Musée Rodin, of course, and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Rodin was especially interested in using photography in the recomposition and development of his works and viewed the medium as a creative tool, on a par with drawing and casting.

Rodin Revisited by Denys Arcand and Adad Hannah

The MMFA is presenting the North American premiere of a new installation created by Vancouver-based photographer and video artist Adad Hannah and Quebec filmmaker Denys Arcand. The Burghers of Vancouver was unveiled in Paris, just steps away from the famous sculpture that served as its inspiration, at the entrance to the Musée Rodin gardens, as part of the exhibition Denys Arcand/Adad Hannah at the Canadian Cultural Centre from February 11 to May 16, 2015. In Montreal, is being shown alongside Hannah’s series Unwrapping Rodin (2010).

“Rodin uses everything that comes to hand: twigs, eggshells, newspapers, bricks, and takes us much further, towards a repurposing practice that Picasso would not have disdained.”

– Catherine Chevillot, Director of Musée Rodin, Paris

Acknowledgements and Curatorial Staff

This exhibition is a production of the MMFA and the Musée Rodin, and will be circulated by the MMFA to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (November 21, 2015 – March 13, 2016), and then to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (May 16 – September 5, 2016). The exhibition curators are Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA, assisted by Sylvain Cordier, Curator of Early Decorative Arts, and Sophie Biass-Fabiani, Heritage Curator for the Musée Rodin, under the direction of Catherine Chevillot, Director. The exhibition design is by Sandra Gagné, Head of Exhibitions Production at the MMFA, and Nathalie Crinière of Agence NC, Paris. We would also like to acknowledge the collaboration of the Société des arts technologiques (SAT).

The exhibition is presented in Montreal by Fiera Capital, in collaboration with the Museum’s Volunteer Association, Ciot, Air Canada, Bell, Tourisme Montréal, MABI, Richter, La Presse and the Montreal Gazette. The exhibition has also benefited from the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through its Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program. The Museum would like to thank Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications for its essential contribution, as well as the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing support.

The Museum’s International Exhibition Programme receives financial support from the Exhibition Fund of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation and the Paul G. Desmarais Fund. We extend our thanks to the Association of Volunteer Guides for their valued contribution to Museum life. We would also like to thank all our members and the many individuals, companies and foundations who support our mission, especially the Fondation de la Chenelière and the Arte Musica Foundation.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all those who, through their generous assistance, encouragement and support, made this exhibition and scholarly publication possible.

Musée Rodin, Paris