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April 5, 2010

The McNay adds Remarkable Auguste Rodin Sculpture to Collection


Rodin’s vanguard predilection for unconventional finish, expressive modeling, and movement secure him as one of the most influential and pivotal sculptors in the development of modern art. A special installation features Tête de Luxure in the entrance hall of the Main Collection Galleries.


Auguste Rodin’s dynamic figures—epitomized by the McNay’s Burghers of Calais (from the late 1890s)—contrast greatly with the static poses of Neoclassical sculpture that dominated 19th-century French salons. Rodin’s Tête de Luxure (Head of Lust), a gift from Edward Molnar, joins the McNay collection as an exemplar of Rodin’s expressive distortion, which led to further abstraction of the human form in 20th-century sculpture. Tête de Luxure was originally part of Rodin’s monumental work The Gates of Hell. In 1880 the French Directorate of Fine Arts commissioned him to create a large portal for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, decorated with sculpture inspired by Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy. Although Rodin never completed the doorway, he refined the sculptural program over a period of four decades and exhibited many of the figural components as distinct artworks. The McNay’s bronze derives from The Crouching Woman (1880–82), a contorted figure who rests her head on her knee, and is one of several adaptations of the figure that Rodin created and had cast in editions. The head of the woman was detached and exhibited independently under its current title. As a result, the rounded surface of the front of her face provides a counterpoint to the angular faceting on the rear side where her head met her knee.


Image: Auguste Rodin, Tête de Luxure (Head of Lust), ca. 1882. Bronze. Gift of Edward Molnar

The McNay

Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style residence opened as Texas’s first museum of modern art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier. Nearly doubling the McNay’s exhibition space, the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries.



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