* 1840 Paris
† 1917 Meudon
The French sculptor Auguste Rodin was born in Paris on November 12, 1840. He studies at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs as well as at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1854 to 1857. Besides his training in arts, he is also a skilled stone mason and caster. He works in the sculpting studio of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse from 1864 to 1871. From 1872 to 1874 he also works on architectural sculptures in Brussels in the studio of van Rabourgs. Rodin goes on a journey to Florence and Rome in 1875, in order to study the works of Michelangelo. In 1876/77 Rodin thoroughly examines gothic cathedrals, he makes the illustrated book "French Cathedrals". From 1879 to 1882 Auguste Rodin makes designs for ceramic vases for Carrier-Belleuse, director of the ceramic manufactory in Sèvres.
His friendship with the sculptor Aimé Jules Dalou grants Rodin access to the circle of symbolists around the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, by whom Rodin is patronaged. He applies for a salon in 1879 with the sculpture of John the Baptist, he is accepted and even awarded, after he had been turned down several times in previous years. In 1880 Rodin is commissioned to do the portal of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, however, he only manages to make drafts and parts of the "Hell's Gate" in his lifetime.
In 1883 he meets the young sculptress Camille Claudel. Their relationship is extremely stimulating and inspiring for both their artistic creation, even though in terms of humane aspects it is coined by pain and frustration, until they finally break up in 1898.
As of 1894 Rodin lives and works in Meudon near Paris. He has his own pavilion at the world exhibition in Paris in 1900, in which he shows more than 170 works. Numerous exhibitions take place over the following years. In 1905/06 Rainer Maria Rilke works as Rodin's private secretary. In 1907 Rodin acquires the Hôtel Biron, where he also has a studio and where the Musée Auguste Rodin is opened after his death.
Auguste Rodin is regarded as one of the most important European sculptors in the last third of the 19th and the early 20th century. Like no other, he manages to depict emotional arousal. His figures and groups are worked out of the block to the point that reveals only the most substantial. Among his main works count "The Age of Bronze" (1875/76), "The Thinker" (1880), "Danaide" (1885), "The Kiss " (1886), and the group plastic "The Burghers of Calais" (1884-1886), and a monument for the poet Balzac (1897). He also makes numerous portrait busts of important contemporaries.
Auguste Rodin dies in Meudon on November 17, 1917.