Rodin Museum is a Must-See in Paris
by Lisa Michaux, Tastemaker in Residence
On my first visit to the Rodin Museum in Paris several years ago, I was appalled—I was a museum curator and was absolutely shocked at the state of affairs. Paint was peeling off the walls and ceilings, the windows were open, and the guards were paying no attention as visitors touched the delicate surfaces of Rodin’s incredible sculptures. It was enough to put a poor art historian over the edge!!
Fast-forward to April 2016 when I was able to return to see the gorgeous renovation of what is now one of my favorite places in Paris. After three years of extensive work, the Hôtel Biron, the gardens, and Rodin’s sculptures shine for all to see. The walls are even painted with a color created specifically for the project by Farrow & Ball, Biron Gray, named after the magnificent 18th-century palace that has housed the collection since 1919.
The eighteen rooms of the museum contain not only Rodin’s sculptural works, but also paintings and sculptures by other artists that were in Rodin’s personal collection including works by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, as well as the fascinating work of Rodin’s mistress Camille Claudel.
One of the most unexpected new rooms was the installation of a few of the thousands of fragments of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures owned by the artist. I loved the wall of hands and imagine that the curators had a blast choosing and arranging the selection.
Despite the extensive renovation, it seems like heating and cooling will still be an issue. While the ex-curator in me hates seeing the windows open, the over-heated museumgoer in me was almost as happy as the guards to feel the cool breeze coming inside the sun-filled rooms.
I have to admit; I am always distracted by the views from inside old buildings looking out, but especially here when one can see the amazing gardens of the Rodin Museum. Honestly, if the house is crowded and hot, you will see all the best sculptures outside and have the advantage of one of the prettiest oasis in all of Paris. The renovation also included a café and it is a beautiful place to take a rest during a visit.
Paris is a city with a museum for every taste. The Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are incredible, but can be a bit overwhelming (to say the least!) So on those days you want an experience that involves viewing some of the greatest sculptures of all time in a beautiful garden setting or in the rooms of a gorgeously renovated 18th–century building, wander over to the 7th arrondissement and visit the Musée Rodin. You will not be disappointed.
21, boulevard des Invalides