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Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement

Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement


Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement is the first serious study of Rodin’s late sculptural series known as the Dance Movements. Exploring the artist’s fascination with dance and bodies in extreme acrobatic poses, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue give an account of Rodin’s passion for new forms of dance – from south-asian dances to the music hall and the avant garde – which began appearing on the French stage around 1900.


Rodin made hundreds of drawings and watercolours of dancers. From about 1911 he also gave sculptural expression to this fascination with dancers’ bodies and movements in creating the Dance Movements, a series of small clay figure studies (each approx. 30 cm in height) that stretch and twist in unsettling ways. These leaping, turning figures in terracotta and plaster were not exhibited during Rodin’s lifetime or known beyond his close circle, and were only cast in bronze posthumously. Presented alongside the associated drawings and photographs of some of the dancers, they show a new side to Rodin’s art, in which he pushed the boundaries of sculpture, expressing themes of flight and gravity. 


This exhibition catalogue aims to become the authoritative reference for Rodin’s Dance Movements, comprising essays from leading scholars in the field of sculpture. It will include an introductory essay on the history of the bronze casting of the Dance Movements and the critical fortune of the series, an essay on the dancers Rodin admired, and an extensive technical essay. The Catalogue will comprise detailed entries on the works in the exhibition and new technical information on the drawings.

  • Edited by Alexandra Gerstein

    Paperback, 260 x 216 mm
    192 pages, 150 colour illus.
    ISBN: 978-1-907372-99-5

  • Contributors

    Contributors include Alexandra Gerstein, Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Courtauld Gallery; Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Director, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris; Juliet Bellow, Associate Professor of Art History, American University in Washington, DC and currently Resident Fellow, the Center for Ballet and the Arts, New York University; François Blanchetière, Curator of Sculpture at the Musée Rodin with sculpture conservators Agnès Cascio and Juliette Lévy; Sophie Biass-Fabiani, Curator of Works on Paper at the Musée Rodin; Kate Edmondson, Conservator of Works on Paper at The Courtauld Gallery; and Aline Magnien, Director of the Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques.

  • In the press

    ***** "A dense, focused exhibition … [Rodin] makes us reimagine what we think a human body is." —Evening Standard 


    **** "An erudite new show … it carries the looker effortlessly into the flow of its passions."  —The Times


    **** "Insightful exhibition ... Rodin’s dream dancer leaps and soars, glides and dives." —The Guardian 


    "There are few more satisfying exhibition experience than this … these vigorously modelled figures are tiny firecrackers, exploding with energy and life." —The Telegraph 


    "An artist fascinated by how to express movement in stillness." —Financial Times


    "An inspired and beautifully curated exhibition … what marks it out is not only the sensitively selected and tightly focused content, but also its close exploration of Rodin’s artistic process." —The Arts Desk 


    "Simply put, Rodin excelled at fragmentation, assemblage and variation." —The Art Newspaper


    "A valuable glimpse into Rodin's working practices." —The Oldie


    "These figurines show that Rodin took pleasure in life even in old age." —Vind Magazine (Netherlands) 

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