Here si a classic sculptor who paved the way for modern sculpture. You just have to visit the Rodin museum in Paris to find the most beautiful Rodin sculptures all assembled into one place and find the “studies” among them. Look at them closely …travel in time some 50 years ahead and find parts of Henri Moore and Brancusi in them. Rodin was a genius and the dutch are lucky to have some great Rodin sculptures in public collections. There are statues in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum and there are 7 sculptures by Rodin collected by Mr. and Mrs Singer which are frequently on show at the Singer Museum in Laren. The most important one is a smaller sized “THINKER” statue.
Beside the statues , Rodin made some very impressive (erotic) watercolors. Studies of bodies which also have an abstract quality.
If ever i had to chose two great sculptors from France , for me personally it would be Camille Claudel and Aristide Maillol. Rodin is a great sculptor , but i find his sculptures/statues to classic. He is a craftsman but for me he lacks the personal touch that i encounter with Maillol and Claudel. I have been admiring daily for 25 years a great statue by Maillol which is in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and i found it never boring.
This is the reason that i am always on the look out for publications on Maillol and finally i found another great one at our local bookmarket . It is the spectacular Paul Rosenberg catalogue for his sales exhibition of sculptures by Maillol from 1958. It is now available at www.ftn-books.com together with excellent Sandberg designed catalogue from the 1962 exhibition which was held at the Stedelijk Museum.
First springday in the Netherlands and a very nice 18 degrees celsius made me clean our terrace with the high pressure cleaner….away wth the green algae and a four hour job. It is like meditation….always the same movement from left to right and my mind thought about the blog i had to make today. What is the subject which always attracts the most readers…yes it still i sex. so i decided to devote the blog to erotic art. All great artist from the middle ages until today always have at one time made their own interpretation of the female body and the act of intercourse. Picasso, Dali, Bellmer, Ernst, Mapplethorpe, Wesselman, Rodin and Ramos…just to name a few. From the mid sixties there were even some collectors who collected erotic art. The most famous ones were the Kronhausens. Their collection travelled the world and made erotic art more acceptable. Nowadays one is not surprised nor shocked when seeing a highly erotic subject from an artist , but in those days these exhibitions were a first. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on this subject and other publication throughout the years prove that the subject is still a very popular one.
August Rodin…. a legend among sculptors and a sculptor who is appreciated by young and old. The Musee Rodin in Paris receives over 700.000 visitors each year and now some great works from their collection are on loan at the Groninger Museum. In total 140 sculptures and 20 works on paper are in the Rodin exhibition, which makes it the largest Rodin exhibition in the Netherlands ever. So this is a great opportunity to visit the Mendini designed museum in the north of the Netherlands and visit the Rodin exhibition ( until the 30th of April 2017).
Groninger Museum, Museumeiland 1
9711 ME Groningen
What makes me look really forward to this exhibition, is the special part by Erwin Olaf. I know the sculptures by Rodin quit well, because i have visited the Musee Rodin and saw his exhibition in the Museum Het Paleis ( 1995) in The Hague multiple times. But these Olaf photographs are a first. Olaf photographed dancers of the National Ballet in typical Rodin poses, creating an atmosphere as if these photographs are taken in the Rodin studio. Spectacular photographs of these talented dancers with bodies like they were sculpted by Rodin himself.
It was an exhibition i was really looking forward to. I know the collection of sculptures the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has very well and thought they would make a superb exhibition with them. Last weekend we visited the exhibition and….i must say i was disappointed. The statues and sculptures were grouped and i could distinguish themes and periods within the groups, but what struck me most is that there were too many sculptures on too little space. For me sculptures must have space around them. That is the reason sculptures outside work so well. In the Gemeentemuseum there were too many on too little space and on top of it, the epic spider by Louise Bourgeois was not shown within the exhibition, but was squeezed into one of the smallest cabinets of the museum.
This sculpture exhibition competes with too many other exhibitions at the same time and far too many objects within the exhibitions, made the museum visit one of the least attractive ones of the last years.
old situation with Kirkeby brick sculpture
I love the museum, but this collection deserves far better than the way it now is exposed to the public. Far too many objects. No space between them….no air to breathe at all . The SCHATKAMER in which the STIJL period is exhibited on the ground floor is one of the worst museum spaces i know of in the Netherlands and now that the inner garden is (unfortunately) covered( see photos), because they wanted a space to drink coffee ( beside the restaurant), read some magazines and sell some books( beside the museumstore), the beautiful Bourgeois sculpture is now squeezed into a cabinet and is no longer a part of the sculpture exhibition FROM RODIN TO BOURGEOIS, because it is placed out of the exhibition on the other side of the building. So please free the inner garden space from everything in it and make this an exhibition space and put the Bourgeois, Nauman, Carl Andre in it or better…. use it for the Sol LeWitt,Serieel project nr. 1: Groep B (1966-1970). These sculptures really deserve some space and a better exposure. That would be a real “tribute to Sol LeWitt”. Go and see what space can do for a beautiful sculpture. Visit the Serra in the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Giacometti in the Beyeler and see how it must be done to present them in the best way possible. Space and air is what these great sculptures need.
A last remark, the Museum shop is turning into a souvenir shop. If that is what they feel the museum needs, the museum certainly must follow that path, but i feel strongly that it is nice to learn something about the great art which is shown in a museum and for that you need other products than scarves, cups, pencils and the occasional postcard. For books on the Gemeentemuseum and its collection and exhibitions there is still another place to visit ….please visit www.ftn-books.com and find here the publications this great museum has published over the last 60 years.
One positive thing about the current exhibitions. The Tomas Rajlich exhibition is exquisite ( blog next week) and the Ravesteyn room with the Givenchy dresses and the Audrey Hepburn filmclips in the background is great.