Draped Muse from the Monument to Whistler, large model

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    Draped Muse from the Monument to Whistler, large model

    Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

    The American painter James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was friendly with many French artists. In 1905, after his death, the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers (founded by Whistler in London) commissioned a memorial from Rodin. The Draped Muse from the Monument to Whistler, large model―the chin reworked with modeling clay and the top of the head with fresh plaster―is the final stage of an unfinished project. Rather than portraying the painter himself, Rodin borrowed the features of his own model and mistress, the Welsh painter Gwen John (1876-1939), to depict Whistler’s muse.

    The resulting figure is both majestic and disconcerting: the arms were added later and are strangely proportioned. The figure’s pose and drapery are reminiscent of the Venus de Milo (150-130 BC), but this tribute to antiquity―confirmed by the cast of a small altar from Rodin’s personal collection of antiquities―was not enough to convince the committee, which rejected the project when it was finally submitted in 1918 by Léonce Bénédite (1859-1925), curator of the newly-founded Musée Rodin.

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    Musée Rodin - Meudon, plaster gallery

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    Completion date :


    Dimensions :

    H. 238 cm; W. 115 cm; D. 128 cm

    Materials :

    Plaster, assembled piece-mold proofs, reworked with plaster and modeling clay

    Inventory number :


    Credits :

    © Photographic Agency of musée Rodin - Jérome Manoukian



    • Draped Muse from the Monument to Whistler, large model(zip, 1587.6 ko)