Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum reopens to the public, sharing its reinstalled and reinterpreted collection, as well as it’s newly restored buildings and gardens, returned to their 1929 charm.
As part of the three-year renovation, the Jacques Gréber-designed gardens, and the Meudon Gate Rodin Museum exterior, both designed by Philadelphia’s great architect Paul Cret, have been meticulously restored. The collection represents one of the most important holdings of Rodin’s work anywhere.
“The opening of the Rodin Museum in November 1929 represented a high point in this city’s efforts to create the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as a great civic space,” said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “This [renovation] is, fundamentally, an act of stewardship, restoring one of Philadelphia’s loveliest buildings. We hope that visitors to Philadelphia will count the Rodin Museum among this city’s finest artistic treasures and that the citizens of our city and region rediscover it as a place to meet, to reflect, and to enjoy the work of a brilliant and widely admired sculptor, Auguste Rodin.”
Visitors can see several of Rodin’s greatest works, including The Burghers of Calais, in the garden, in niches on the Museum’s façade, and in the arches of the Meudon Gate for the first time in many decades, as Cret initially installed them. The reinstallation includes 90 works in a variety of materials.
Returning the Rodin Museum to its original design required a comprehensive cleaning of the exterior stonework as well as the building’s tall windows and high, dramatic skylight that extends across the vaulted main gallery and now generously bathes the space below in far more daylight. Within the refurbished galleries, the inaugural installation of the collection is dedicated to The Gates of Hell as a tribute to the artist’s epic vision and the passion of the Museum’s founder, Philadelphia entrepreneur and collector Jules Mastbaum (1872–1926).
The changes allow visitors to experience Rodin’s sculpture in a new way.
“Visitors will be able to explore the most significant aspects of Rodin’s life and career, his relationship to the art of his times, and the salient features of his artistic style, all of which will help demonstrate why his work was so revolutionary and why he is considered a seminal figure in the history of modern art,” notes Joseph Rishel, a senior curator.
New interpretive tools, including a new mobile app, and new public programs such as family activities and performances in the welcome center, teach visitors about Rodin’s work. In the octagonal galleries, visitors will find comfortable couches and can interact with the museum and its collection.
Public tours led by museum guides take place daily at 1:30pm. A full range of public programs will be produced including activities for families with children and interactive art-creating programs. The Rodin Museum is open from 10am until 5pm every day except Tuesdays.