Focus on
Auguste Rodin

Faun/Le vieil arbre/Le vieux chêne, ca. 1885 (Inv. No. SGP 6)

10 October 2008 to 22 March 2009

The sixth exhibition within the series Focus on… revolved around a group of bronze figures entitled “Faun”, not quite 40 cm high, by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Deriving from the complex and detailed program for the Gates of Hell, started in 1880 and originally conceived as a double-wing bronze portal for the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, this group of figures, completed in 1885, raises numerous questions: Why do the two figures – a cloven-footed male creature and a female rushing up to it – have such peculiar proportions? What urged Rodin to create this stirring and agitated pair of fauns? And why did he combine two initially unrelated figures within this ambiguous work?

The exhibition “Focus on Auguste Rodin: Faun/Le vieil arbre/Le vieux chêne, ca. 1885 (Inv. No. SGP 6)” aimed to elucidate these issues by exploring the subject of this admittedly unusual and irritating group of sylvan creatures joined in uninhibited entanglement, as well as the circumstances surrounding the work’s acquisition, its treatment in literature, and the employment of assemblage as an artistic means.

CURATOR: Dr. Eva Mongi-Vollmer, Städel Museum
SPONSORED BY: Schering Stiftung