By Auguste Rodin / Portrait Bust / 19th century (probably 1891)By Auguste Rodin
Portrait Bust
19th century (probably 1891)

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Creator Name: Rodin, Auguste
Creator Role: Sculptor
Creator Dates/Places: 1840-1917
Creator Name-CRT: By Auguste Rodin
Title: Portrait Bust
Title Type: Object name
Title: Honoré de Balzac
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1891
Creation End Date: 1891
Creation Date: 19th century (probably 1891)
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: terracotta
Dimensions: H. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 12.11.1
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1912

In 1891 the Société des Gens de Lettres commissioned Rodin to create a monument to Balzac, who had died in 1850, for the Palais-Royal in Paris. Rodin made numerous preparatory studies. As the head evolved from a lifelike portrait to the huge, craggy, masklike face of the final version, Rodin made several trips to Tours, where Balzac had lived. There, he hoped to find men with facial characteristics similar to those of Balzac to serve as models for the author's portrait. This original terracotta represents one of the models, a man named Estager, whom Rodin identified as the 'Conductor of Tours.' The final version of the monument, finished in 1898, depicts Balzac wrapped in the monk's robe he liked to wear when he was writing. More of a symbol than a portrait, the statue shocked the Société and they rejected it. The first cast in bronze was erected in Paris in 1939, eighteen years after Rodin's death, at the crossing of the boulevards Montparnasse and Raspail.

AMICA ID: MMA_.12.11.1
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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