Rodin sculpture displayed in Kendal gallery

27/06/2018 PRESS RELEASE: Rodin: rethinking the fragment

27 June 2018

Rodin: rethinking the fragment

Abbot Hall focus on the father of modern sculpture

One of Auguste Rodin's most famous works will go on show at Abbot Hall Art Gallery Kendal this summer.

Rodin: rethinking the fragment opens on 10 August and runs until 27 October. On display is The Thinker (1880-81) - one of Rodin's most striking works.

The iconic piece is on loan from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow and takes centre stage.

The Thinker is shown alongside three objects from the British Museum:

  • A classical torso from a marble statuette of Venus (about 1st century AD).
  • Royal Academy medal (about 1901), showing the Athenian Acropolis alongside the Belvedere Torso.
  • Eugène Carrière's portrait of Auguste Rodin, Rodin sculpting (1900).

Abbot Hall is the very first venue in the country to host this British Museum Partnership Spotlight Loan, generously supported by the Dorset Foundation in memory of Harry M Weinrebe.

Venues on this tour will present the work in a different context. Abbot Hall will look at Rodin's influences and in turn, his influence on Elisabeth Frink.

This is the first time Roman Art has been on show at Abbot Hall. The objects shed light on the influence of classical antiquity on Rodin.

More details about the exhibition:

Rodin: rethinking the fragment explores how the French sculptor (1840-1917) studied the fragments of ancient Greece and Rome, converting the limbless, headless torso into a new art genre.

Lakeland Arts' Frances Guy, Director of Programming (temporary), said: "We are thrilled to be the first gallery in the country to host this British Museum Spotlight Loan.

"Rodin was the originator of twenty-first century sculpture. He was the catalyst for changing the way artists appreciated sculpture. He made society look at public sculpture in a different, more fluid way.

"This is a really exciting time for Abbot Hall with two excellent exhibitions which are interlinked. Alongside Rodin we have a major exhibition by Elisabeth Frink - one of the most exciting sculptors of modern times. And of course, Frink's most important influence was Rodin.

"The Spotlight Loan explores the history and development of sculpture from Classical Antiquity to the present. Showing Rodin alongside Frink will invite visitors to compare, contrast and make their own relationships and connections to both artists' work."

Barbara Vujanović, Senior Curator, The Ivan Meštrović Museums - the Meštrović Atelier, Zagreb, and Project Curator of this Spotlight loan said: "I am delighted to have worked with the British Museum on this exciting partnership exhibition, which reveals how Rodin viewed fragments from antiquity as works of art to be celebrated. I look forward to seeing the different ways in which the venues approach this exhibition."

Rodin was a radical and innovative artist who challenged the rules of contemporary sculpture. Perhaps his most important legacy was the idea that a fragment - an incomplete figure or even an isolated hand - could be a work of art in its own right.

The Thinker was conceived to sit high up on Rodin's The Gates of Hell. His inspiration for the sculpture included one of the most celebrated sculpture fragments to survive from antiquity, the Belvedere Torso.

The spotlight on Rodin coincides with Elisabeth Frink Fragility and Power (Abbot Hall 22 June - 29 September). This exhibition celebrates one of the most exciting British sculptors of the twentieth century and is the first large scale show of her work in the North West for several years.

After Cumbria, Rethinking the fragment travels to two UK venues: Holburne Museum, Bath and New Art Gallery, Walsall.

Talks related to Abbot Hall's Rodin and Frink exhibitions in September:

Elisabeth Frink: Her Life and Her Influences - Jo Baring.
13 September, 6pm.

Lecture one of a two part series exploring Elisabeth Frink, her personal experiences and her greatest influence, Auguste Rodin.
The talk will discuss the incredible body of work made by Dame Elisabeth Frink, one of the most significant sculptors of the twentieth century. Learn more about Frink's life, influences and working practice.
The talk will be delivered by Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection which is a not-for-profit organisation founded by philanthropist and serial entrepreneur Chris Ingram. The Ingram Collection, one of the UK's most significant collections of Modern British Art, contains over 700 works of art, of which 500 were lent publicly last year.
Jo leads the strategy on public engagement with the art collection, working extensively with regional museums and galleries, and runs the charity's 'Young Contemporary Talent' programme which supports emerging artists through mentoring, events and exhibitions. She was previously a Director of Christie's UK and studied at Brasenose College, Oxford, and the Courtauld Institute of Art.
£15/ Friends £10.

Special two speaker event:
Auguste Rodin's The Thinker: revolutionising modern art
Auguste Rodin, William Burrell, and Scotland

27 September, 6pm.
Lecture two of a two-part series.
It is hard to believe that one of Auguste Rodin's most famous sculptures, The Thinker has its origin in fragmentary form as part of his larger work The Gates of Hell. Curator of Rodin: rethinking the fragment, Barbara Vujanović, will discuss the meanings and history of The Thinker.
Vujanović graduated from Zagreb University in 2007 and co-authored and co-curated the retrospective of Auguste Rodin's work at the Art Pavilion in Zagreb in 2015. She is currently Senior Curator at the Ivan Meštrović Museum Croatia.
During the same event Pippa Stephenson, Curator of European Art, Glasgow Museums, will talk about Sir William Burrell's 1944 donation of his remarkable 9000 objects to the city of Glasgow. Within this collection can be found one of the largest groups of works by Auguste Rodin outside France.
£15/ Friends £10.
Book on both events for £20/Friends £15. Book online or 01539722464.

Notes to Editors:

Image download:

Contact: For further information contact Kate Clegg or Dickie Felton

Lakeland Arts:
Lakeland Arts has a portfolio of galleries and museums in the Lake District. It opened Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, in 1962 and since then has built up an outstanding collection and a strong reputation for showing exhibitions of national and international artists of the highest quality.
Abbot Hall also houses the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in the former coach house and stables.
Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House in Bowness-on-Windermere is architect MH Baillie Scott's greatest house and retains most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for exhibitions of historical and contemporary craft.
Lakeland Arts is due to open Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in 2018. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, this will be a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere and will display an internationally important collection of boats which are all associated with lake Windermere.

The British Museum:
The British Museum is a national presence and works with hundreds of UK partner organisations each year through its wide-ranging National Programmes activity. This includes single-object Spotlight tours, touring exhibitions, partnership galleries, short-term loans and long-term loans, with the lead support of the Dorset Foundation in memory of Harry M Weinrebe. In 2017/18, over 2,550 objects were loaned to 126 venues in the UK, reaching 9.2 million people outside London. The Museum will continue to develop partnerships across the UK as part of its commitment to sharing the collection as widely as possible.

No sidebar content on this page.