Cover image for Rodin : a biography
Rodin : a biography
Grunfeld, Frederic V.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1987]

Physical Description:
xii, 738 pages, 48 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :

On Order



Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was arguably the world's greatest sculptor, known for such works as "The Thinker, The Kiss, The Hand of God" and dozens of others. Beautifully written and illustrated, "Rodin" is the definitive biography of a man whose influence on sculpture was as profound as Michelangelo's. 71 illustrations.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Grunfeld's major study of the French sculptor helps to fill the gap of recent biographical material on the subject, either in English or translation. While Rodin's struggles as an artist fill many pages, this extensive and authoritative portrait also examines the sculptor's role in the French culture of his time and his private life, including a number of notorious love affairs not previously documented. Many of the illustrations in the volume are contemporary, both in regard to the period and milieu in which Rodin lived and worked and in the reproductions of Rodin's works themselves, many of which were first published with the artist's sanction. Grunfeld is also the author of Prophets without Honor: A Background to Freud, Kafka, Einstein and Their World (Booklist 76:479 N 15 79). Notes and bibliography; index. JB. 730'.92 (B) Rodin, Auguste / Sculpture, French / Sculpture, Modern 19th century France / Sculpture, Modern 20th century France / Sculptors France Biography [CIP] 87-258

Library Journal Review

Despite the rich subject matter of Rodin's life, there have been virtually no English-language biographical studies since the 1930s. Grunfeld's lively but uneven work updates information about Rodin's stormy romances, but is less thorough in studying the sculptor's relationships with influential political and literary figures, and seems to gloss over the effects of financial worries, relations with official salons, etc., on Rodin's artistic production. The book's racy who's who of fin-de-siecle French society make it a good addition for general collections; more reflective treatments will still be found in Robert Descharnes's August Rodin (Viking, 1967) and Albert Elsen's In Rodin's Studio (Cornell Univ. Pr., 1980). Paula A. Baxter, Museum of Modern Art Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Grunfeld delivers a spritely and scholarly biography of the titan of 19th-century sculpture, Auguste Rodin. Enlightening correspondence and incidences, not general knowledge, create new facets for his life and art, not a small feat for an artist so well documented. This is not a book for the fainthearted; 680 pages long, it is indeed comprehensive and will be a comparative source for future explorations of Rodin's art-should that ever be necessary. To create wider appeal, however, Grunfeld partially alienates conventional scholars by his unannotated text with footnotes in unfamiliar coding at the end of the volume. His page-line-source and abbreviation method works, but it involves constant turning to the end, causing the reader to lose continuity. The excellent bibliography also contains the alphabet coding system entailing a second referral for the reader. The black-and-white illustrations, grouped in three sections, are both a delight and a disappointment. Through relatively unfamiliar drawings and prints one meets many of the people who figured prominently in Rodin's career. However, it is continually frustrating to find extensive narrative material about a work that has no corresponding illustration, to the detriment of Grunfeld's excellent text. Bemused general readers and irritated scholars aside, the book is still a worthy library addition.-P.N. Holder, Austin Peay State University