On February 28 the Foundation’s acclaimed new exhibition of sculpture by Auguste Rodin opened at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The members’ opening reception, on a snowy Friday evening, was attended by 600 people who celebrated the selection of 52 works, all from the Cantor collections. The exhibition at the Michener is augmented by a superb small show of sculpture and drawings by contemporary American artists, many of whom are represented in the Museum’s collection or on loan from friends of the Museum.
Included in the exhibition, which will travel through 2017, are Metamorphosis of Ovid, Despairing Adolescent, Fugitive Love, Fallen Caryatid with Stone and Fallen Caryatid with Urn, as well as Bust of Jean Baptiste Rodin, Heroic Bust of Victor Hugo, and Monumental Head of Balzac. On special loan to the Michener for this exhibition is the North Carolina Museum of Art’s 15-inch cast of The Thinker (a 2009 gift to the NCMA from the Cantor Foundation).
The Michener is presenting a menu of programs to augment the exhibition. A four-part lecture series was kicked-off on March 3 by Cantor Foundation Executive Director Judith Sobol, the exhibition’s curator. Her talk related the story of the creation of Iris and Bernie Cantor’s impressive collection of works by Rodin, which at one time numbered 750 pieces. It also described Rodin’s remarkable achievement in transforming traditional sculpture into modern sculpture, using works in the exhibition as examples. Sobol’s talk will be followed in March and April by presentations by Jennifer A. Thompson, curator of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Rodin Museum and by its conservator Katherine Cuffari, recently part of a team that treated the PMA’s cast of Rodin’s The Gates of Hell. The Michener has also planned a talk on Rodin’s legacy by its senior curator of exhibitions, Kirsten Jensen, who put together a show demonstrating Rodin’s influence on succeeding artists, a complement to the Cantor show. Also planned are tours of Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum, gallery talks about Rodin’s formal achievements, and visits to contemporary artists’ studios.
We are always looking for new ways to introduce people to the work of August Rodin. And we’ve just come up with three more! Now Rodin lovers may download the Foundation’s award-winning film, Rodin: The Gates of Hell directly from Amazon. The 53-minute film, produced by Iris Cantor in 1981 and winner of numerous prestigious accolades, has been newly digitized and color- and sound-corrected, so that today’s audiences will see the recounting of the Rodin story as beautifully as it was first told years ago by Mrs. Cantor. The film, with José Ferrer as the voice of Rodin, tells the story of the sculptor’s life and recounts the stressful and dangerous process of using the lost wax process to fabricate the artist’s masterpiece, The Gates of Hell. For more information, click on image of The Gates, on the left.
At the same time the Foundation has created an excerpt from the longer film; this explains the lost wax casting process in just eight minutes. Plaster, Molds, Wax, and Fire is an easy-to-follow visual lesson on the complicated procedure favored by Rodin. To take a look, visit Youtube.com.
And the Foundation is happy to announce that Dr. Olivia Mattis, the recipient of a Cantor Research Fellowship in 2004, has authored a chapter in an important new book, Rival Sisters, Art and Music at the Birth of Modernism, 1815-1915, which she also co-edited. Dr. Mattis contributed a chapter called Rodin’s Beethoven, wherein she describes the sculptor’s admiration for the composer. Research for this chapter at the Musée Rodin was made possible by the Foundation.
The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute honored Iris Cantor, Chairman and President of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, at its annual Life Without Lupus Gala in November. Mrs. Cantor was celebrated as a trailblazer in bringing the power of philanthropy to transform medical research and care. Particularly fitting, the award was presented by Herb Pardes, M.D., retired president and chief executive and current executive vice chairman of New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Board of Trustees. There Ms. Cantor led the creation of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center as well as New York’s first Men’s Health Center, also named in her honor. In her acceptance remarks, she noted that “philanthropy and innovation go hand in hand. Through philanthropy we can accelerate the path from concept to practice.”
With close to 600 members of Metropolitan New York’s philanthropic, government, business, art, music, society and healthcare communities joining to “Celebrate Innovation” in lupus research and care, the event raised $2 million to support novel research intended to transform patients’ lives while advancing towards prevention and a cure. The event also honored Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, AstraZeneca, for her leadership in helping the company fulfill its commitment to furthering biomedical innovation to change the face of autoimmune treatment. “We believe great science will bring great medicine,” she said.
The single biggest lupus event and highly-anticipated annual fundraiser had appropriately stellar entertainment. Seventeen-time Grammy-winner Tony Bennett delighted the audience by performing such classics as “They All Laughed,” “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” and especially “The Way You Look Tonight,” which he sang especially to Iris Cantor.
A new exhibition of 49 works by Auguste Rodin and three portraits of him by others opened in October at Memphis’ Dixon Gallery and Gardens. The show is an extraordinary insight into the French artist’s capacity to fill his bronzes with emotion, movement, and multiple meanings, a capacity that transformed sculpture at the beginning of the 20th Century from an art of description to one of evocation.
The Dixon Gallery’s presentation of Rodin: The Human Experience, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections honors the memory of John Buchanan, who was Director of the Memphis museum in 1988 when it exhibited its first Rodin exhibition. Buchanan, who went on to direct the Portland Art Museum (Oregon) and the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, died in 2012. “We thought that dedicating Rodin: The Human Experience to John would be a way of indicating the debt of gratitude that we owe him,” said the Dixon’s present director, Kevin Sharp. “He was central to the history of the Dixon. His ambition was translated into the Dixon’s ambition.” As a special homage to John, Iris Cantor has loaned the Dixon Gallery a monumental cast of Rodin’s The Three Shades.
“Much to my delight, the Dixon is the first stop on a nine-city tour for the exhibition,” said Cantor Foundation Executive Director Judith Sobol. “It seems the natural place to begin.” The exhibition goes from the Dixon to the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA, and from there on to Honolulu, San Antonio, and Richmond. Other venues are currently being finalized.
Beginning in October, a new exhibition organized by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation begins a three-year tour of American art museums. The show, entitled Rodin: The Human Experience, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections, continues the Cantor tradition of sharing its great Rodin sculpture collections with the public. Opening at Memphis’ Dixon Gallery and Gardens on 19 October 2014, the exhibition reveals all aspects of Rodin’s work as the artist who bridged the divide between tradition and modernism in sculpture. From the Dixon it travels to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown PA, where it opens on 28 February 2015. The exhibition, comprised of 32 pieces, will be augmented at these first two venues with the addition of 18 Rodin portrait bronzes and two portraits of Rodin.
Following these showings, the exhibition travels to the Honolulu Museum of Art in 2015, then to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Joel & Lila Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond in 2016. The following year it will be seen at the Flint Institute of Arts. Foundation Director Judith Sobol welcomes inquiries from additional museums about scheduling the exhibition.
Watch this space for additional news and photos from our host museums!