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Rodin: The Human Experience

Jan 21, 2017 - Apr 16, 2017
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
General accessibility


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to present Rodin: The Human Experience—Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections, an exhibition of 52 bronzes by the groundbreaking French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The exhibition, which opens January 21, 2017, is being staged in Portland to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the artist’s death.One of the greatest artists of his time, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) revolutionized the art of sculpture. While his works always remained faithful to nature, he departed from traditional practice in seeking to reveal the creative process. This exhibition of stunning bronzes will demonstrate Rodin’s particular passion for modeling the human form in clay, the medium in which his hand and mind are most directly evidenced.

The selected bronzes in the show represent the major achievements of Rodin’s long career. They include powerful studies for The Burghers of Calais, as well as works derived from his masterpiece, The Gates of Hell. Others, such as The Night (Double Figure), demonstrate his experimentation with assemblage. Rodin: The Human Experience also features sculptures, such as Monumental Torso of the Walking Man, which demonstrate Rodin’s admiration for Michelangelo, and Dance Movement D, which speaks to his interest in understanding how the body moved.

Sculpture of the head and neck of Gustav Mahler
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917), Gustav Mahler, 1909, Bronze, Overall: 18 x 13 1/2 x 12 inches, Courtesy of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation

The exhibition is especially rich in portraiture. Included are Rodin’s famous depictions of the writers Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac; the composer Gustav Mahler; the artist Claude Lorraine; one of his favorite dancers, Hanako; and his portrayal of The Hand of God, which is likely a self-portrait.

Rodin’s ability to use bronze to represent living flesh and his interest in expressing extreme psychological states were highly influential upon younger artists, both in Europe and America. Rodin: The Human Experience reveals why the artist is considered the crucial link between traditional and modern sculpture.

The Museum will present a variety of public programs and tours in conjunction with the exhibition, including an opening lecture by exhibition curator Judith Sobol, Executive Director of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.

This exhibition has been organized and made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. Curated by Judith Sobol, Executive Director of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation; host curated by Dawson Carr, Ph.D., The Janet and Richard Geary Curator of European Art.

Rodin Remix

As a part of Rodin: The Human Experience, the Rodin Remix interpretive space allows visitors to touch and interact with Rodin’s forms, using 3D printed Rodins from the below files. We are grateful to the Portland 3D Printing Lab for partnering with us.


Lead Sponsors

Laura S. Meier
Andrée H. Stevens

Major Sponsors

The Mark Family
Walter Clay Hill and Family Foundation
Ameriprise Financial and Columbia Threadneedle
Clark Foundation
Exhibition Series Sponsors


Richard and Janet Geary Foundation
Robert Lehman Foundation
Chehalem Winery

Exhibition and Education Supporters

Cascadia Foundation
European and American Art Council of the Portland Art Museum
Ann Flowerree
The Holzman Foundation
The Jackson Foundation
Willa M. Kemp
Elizabeth Lilley
Lisa and Shawn Mangum
Shirley N. Papé
Sabine Wild
Mr. and Mrs. David Willmott
Judith Wyss