Rodin's Villa-Studio Open to the Public


After decades of disuse, the country home of Auguste Rodin recently opened to the public, and gives visitors a look at dozens of plaster sculptures that had been stashed in the basement since the artist's death in 1917.

La Villa des Brillants, as the home is called, is in the quiet Paris suburb of Meudon, where the sculptor spent his final years, overseeing his vast studio and 50 apprentices like a factory foreman.

On display are hands, heads, fingers, arms, legs, torsos and complete figures. The villa is a museum of rough drafts, indicating to visitors the way the sculptor worked--first in clay, then in plaster, finally in bronze or marble.

The three-story Meudon villa is a complement to the Rodin Museum in Paris, once the sculptor's old Left Bank studio, which showcases his works in bronze and marble. After buying the villa in 1895, he lived there with his longtime companion, Rose Beuret, and their home became a mecca for artists, writers, political leaders and even royalty.

Some of the plaster works on display are several versions of "The Kiss," "The Burghers of Calais" and "The Thinker." Although only about 120 objects are exhibited, there are more than 6,000 items still in storage.

Meudon is a 20-minute car ride from Paris and can be reached by bus and subway. Until Aug. 31, a shuttle bus will take visitors from the Rodin Museum in Paris to the Meudon site for $3. The villa is open 1 to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission: $2.

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