True Nature: Rodin and the Age of Impressionism presents a unique opportunity to see over 50 works by legendary French sculptor Auguste Rodin, one of the most celebrated artists of the past 200 years. The exhibition, on view at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also showcases works by Rodin’s French Impressionist friends, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas. To see a collection of Rodin’s work of this magnitude, you would normally have to travel to Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia or all the way to Paris. The fact that OKC is home to so much of Rodin’s work this summer, not to mention numerous sculptures and paintings by additional French art luminaries, makes this a can’t-miss opportunity.
WHO WAS AUGUSTE RODIN?
Auguste Rodin was perhaps the most important French sculptor who worked in late 19th-century and early 20th-century France. Often called the father of modern sculpture, True Nature shows how Rodin earned this title as it explores the artist’s journey from realistic likenesses to almost abstract representations of his subjects’ inner lives.
While it is possible you might not recognize the name Rodin (pronounced roe-dan), most people will know him from his most popular sculpture, The Thinker (1904). Rodin worked as an apprentice from the age of 17, but he did not gain recognition for his own art until he was well into his forties. Rodin primarily lived and worked in and around Paris and was friends with some of the most popular artists of that time, including Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. As Rodin grew in popularity, young artists from across Europe and the United States flocked to Paris to meet and work with the sculptor.
MAKING AN IMPRESSION
Unlike many of his predecessors, Rodin depicted figures that looked like everyday people, with all their awkward quirks and flaws. By using real models, Rodin was able to capture something of their true nature, as well as the unique ways in which they moved about their worlds. The Impressionists also sought out every day subject matter and strove to capture fleeting moments in their work. True Nature sets Rodin’s sculptures alongside Impressionist paintings to highlight these connections.
Rodin and the Impressionists also shared similar approaches to the artistic process that focused on their materials and the act of creating. Artists like Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir used short, visible brushstrokes to convey the essence of their subject. Similarly, Rodin’s works are roughly textured and often have his fingerprints on them, giving his sculptures an ‘unfinished’ look. For visitors to experience this unique texture firsthand, OKCMOA has a touchable bronze replica cast on display. True Nature also has an entire room devoted to exploring Rodin’s artistic process, his studio and the lost-wax casting process Rodin used.
With scenes of bustling Parisian streets and the serene French landscape hanging on the gallery walls, visitors will be transported to 19th-century France. Whether you want to be awed by towering sculptures or captivated by Impressionist landscapes, you are sure to find art that moves you in True Nature.
MAKE PLANS TODAY
Tickets for adults are $21.95, and children 17 and under receive free admission every day. True Nature: Rodin & The Age of Impressionism will run through October 22 and is on view on the Museum’s third floor. Buy tickets here.