Exhibition Explores Role of Photography in Rodin, Brancusi, and Moore’s Sculpture
Eugène Druet for Auguste Rodin, Monument to the Burghers of Calais at the Pavillon de l’Alma, 1900 silver gelatin print, 11 3/4 x 15 1/2 in / 29.9 x 39.4 cm
(Courtesy of Waddington Custot Galleries)
“Why write about sculpture? Why not just show the photographs?” Constantin Brancusi once asked. In response to Brancusi’s query, Waddington Custot Galleries and collector and gallerist David Grob have announced an exhibition of more than 50 vintage photographs from the studios of Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, and Brancusi.
Runing May 22-July 11 in London, “Rodin, Brancusi, Moore: Through the Sculptor’s Lens” will explore the role of photography within the practice of these three pre-eminent sculptors.
The selection of images, dating back to the end of the nineteenth- to the late twentieth-century, offers an empirical glimpse into the creation of works by these sculptors, some lost and destroyed. Each sculptor has a distinct and defined relationship with the medium of photography, a primary tool of preparation, reflection, and sometimes promotion.
Rodin was an early adopter of photography employing professional photographers and engaging with them to explore different modes of capturing an image. He used the photographs to examine his sculptures in progress. Some of Rodin’s most famous works, from “The Thinker” to “The Kiss,” will be on display as images.
American surrealist visual artist Man Ray was the impetus behind Brancusi’s decision to photograph his works. Unlike Rodin, Brancusi took the photographs himself, developing and printing the images, many of which are on display at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He used alternative camera angles to exhibit a sense of infinity and sought out photographic “accidents” or shadows and reflections on his works.
Perhaps the least known of the three for photography, Moore worked with renowned photographers such as John Hedgecoe. Moore used photographs to aid in his preparatory process, such as the arrangement of figures for his UNESCO commission or exploring how surface detail creates visual impressions.