A Sculptor Looks at Rodin’s Work

29 Sep 2023

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Sidney Geist, sculptor, and professor of sculpture, New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. In conjunction with the exhibition Rodin Rediscovered, on view at the National Gallery of Art from June 28, 1981, to May 2, 1982, Sidney Geist highlights some of the 366 catalogued works by Auguste Rodin that filled spaces on each of the East Building’s four levels. With works from about 40 American and European collections, the exhibition recreated a typical Paris Salon of the 1870s. Twenty-nine sculptures filled the Upper Level Galleries, continued downward through the building with nine sections devoted to different themes of Rodin’s work, and ended on the Concourse with a new eight-ton bronze cast of The Gates of Hell with its 186 figures. In this lecture recorded on September 27, 1981, Geist brings his unique perspective as a sculptor to the examination of Rodin’s work, expressing how difficult it is to separate Rodin’s technical ability from the mystical quality of his sculpture. This intertwining of the human and the divine, the mundane and the transcendent led Geist to remark of Rodin and his apprentice, Constantin Brancusi: “Sculpture is the place we read their spirits.”


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