Coming from a modest family, the young Auguste Rodin grows up with a lack of knowledge and a low level of study. Not mastering school subjects, his parents finally decide to enroll into a specialized school for drawing and mathematics "la petite école", today known as the prestigious Ecole nationale supérieur des arts décoratifs. This is where Rodin discovers his taste and passion for sculpture. He got the chance to meet and work alongside big names of the industry: Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, Barye, Carrier-Belleuse, Van Rasbourgh, to name but a few.
One of his first statue was The Age of Bronze, which he owes his success to. The statue seemed so real that he was accused of having directly carved on a human body. Would follow The Gates of Hell, The Thinker, Eternal Springtime, The Burghers of Calais, or The Kiss, which was specially ordered to appear at the 1889 Great Exhibition.
Rodin secretly kept in mind the desire to create his own museum. In 1900, he created a solo exhibition at the Alma pavilion, on the sidelines of the Great Exhibition. It was a success.
In 1908, the artist moved to an abandoned area, the hôtel Biron. Many young artists lived there and/or exposed their works. The mansion was a dream location for Auguste Rodin. As a result of his solo exhibition, the artist was coveted. Visits were numerous, as well as orders...
The hôtel Biron is located rue de Varenne in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, a few steps away from Les Invalides, which can also be admired from the gardens. One can not imagine such a beautiful property in the heart of Paris. A work signed by the architect Jean Aubert, who himself designed the château de Chantilly.
When the abandoned hotel returns in the hands of the government, Rodin commits to fight to acquire the hotel and accomplish his ultimate dream: create his own museum. It will only be by the end of 1916 that the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will accept to donate the property to the artist. However, the war has already started. The Musée Rodin's inauguration therefore took place two years later. However, August Rodin has passed away two years earlier.
Almost a hundred years after its opening, the mansion no longer seems to match nor meet the expectations of the artists's works. Indeed, the museum has deteriorated over the past years. The hotel needs a renovation. Fleur Pellerin, the Ministry of Culture and Communication is entirely devoted, and speaks of this place as a singular location.
In November 2012, the hôtel Biron revamps and is ready to welcome its new visitors. The garden, then abandoned during the 1900's, gives way to the garden as we know it now: the highlight of the show! It is then not a surprise that the famous film director, Woody Allen, has made it one of its setting for his film "Midnight in Paris"...
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The Engel & Völkers Paris Team