From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
François-Auguste-René Rodin (12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917), known as Auguste Rodin was a French sculptor. He was the preeminent sculptor of his time, and remains one of the few sculptors widely recognized outside the visual arts community. His works include The Kiss, 1889, La Danaide, 1889 and The Thinker (Le Penseur), 1902.
By 1900, Rodin's artistic reputation was entrenched. Gaining exposure from a pavilion of his artwork set up near the Exposition universelle de 1900 in Paris, he received requests to make busts of prominent people internationally, while his assistants at the atelier produced duplicates of his works. His income from portrait commissions alone totalled probably 200,000 francs a year. As Rodin's fame grew, he attracted many followers, including the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and authors Octave Mirbeau, Joris-Karl Huysmans, and Oscar Wilde. Rilke stayed with Rodin in 1905 and 1906, and did administrative work for him; he would later write a laudatory monograph on the sculptor. Rodin and Beuret's modest country estate in Meudon, purchased in 1897, was a host to such visitors as King Edward, dancer Isadora Duncan, and harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. Rodin moved to the city in 1908, renting the main floor of the Hôtel Biron, an eighteenth-century townhouse. He left Beuret in Meudon, and began an affair with the American-born Duchesse de Choiseul.
After the turn of the century, Rodin was a regular visitor to Great Britain, where he developed a loyal following by the beginning of the First World War. He first visited England in 1881, where his friend, the artist Alphonse Legros, had introduced him to the poet William Ernest Henley. With his personal connections and enthusiasm for Rodin's art, Henley was most responsible for Rodin's reception in Britain. Through Henley, Rodin met Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Browning, in whom he found further support. Encouraged by the enthusiasm of British artists, students, and high society for his art, Rodin donated a significant selection of his works to the nation in 1914.
In 1903, Rodin was elected president of the International Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers. He replaced its former president, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, upon Whistler's death. His election to the prestigious position was largely due to the efforts of Albert Ludovici, father of English philosopher Anthony Ludovici.
During his later creative years, Rodin's work turned increasingly toward the female form, and themes of more overt masculinity and femininity.