Foundation of the Rodin Museum
The Rodin Museum was created in 1916 – and at the request of the sculptor – in the Hôtel Biron, the mansion he rented from 1908 to 1911.
Auguste Rodin donated his works to the French State, on condition that a museum gathering most of his works, collections, letters, manuscripts and his personal library was founded!
The museum was open to the public in 1919.
An annex to the Rodin Museum was later opened in the Villa des Brillants in Meudon.
Rodin bought this property in 1895, and lived there until his death in 1917.
He was buried there with his companion, Rose Beuret, under a replica of his Penseur-Thinker.
Rodin was a prolific artist!
The collections he left to the Rodin Museum include about 6500 sculptures (bronze, plaster, terracotta …) and as many watercolors, engravings and prints.
He also gathered about 1,700 paintings, prints and sculptures created by friends and artists of the time.
Add to this more than 7,000 pictures collected from the 1870s onward!
The Rodin Museum exhibits also the wonderful sculptures and works of art of Camille Claudel.
Camille was also Rodin’s muse and lover.
The Hôtel de Biron is dedicated to the permanent collections.
The temporary exhibitions are held in the mansion’s chapel.
The large sculptures are exhibited in the mansions’ elegant gardens.
The Rodin Museum is a true wealth of French art, worth a full half day visit!
Hôtel de Biron
The Hôtel de Biron is located on the western side of the Hôtel Royal des Invalides.
The architect Jean Aubert built the elegant mansion in the early 17th century.
The hôtel was named after Maréchal de Biron, one of the owners.
The Hôtel de Biron became State property at the French Revolution.
The Société du Sacré-Coeur acquired in 1820 and converted into a school for girls.
This order, founded by Madeleine-Sophie Barat, was dissolved in 1904.
The property, once more, became property of the French State.
The State leased the Hôtel Biron to artists, including Rodin (from 1908 to 1911).
The poets Jean Cocteau and Rainer Maria Rilke, the painter Henri Matisse and the dancer Isadora Duncan also rented the property at a later date.
The gardens of the Rodin Museum
The gardens of the Rodin Museum spread over an area of 3 hectares.
They were re-landscaped by Jacques Sgard in 1993.
The front garden has become a rose garden.
This roseraie is a prefect setting for some of Rodin’s most acclaimed sculptures.
This is indeed where you’ll find Les Bourgeois de Calais – The Burghers of Calais, Les Porte de l’Enfer – The Gates of Hell and of course his famous Thinker – Le Penseur!
The rear gardens consist of two thematic areas.
The Jardin d’Orphée and the Jardin des Sources elegantly showcase the central lawn.
Le Jardin d’Orphée is a romantic area dedicated to vegetation.
Le Jardin des Sources, as its name suggests, is dotted with small ponds and fountains interconnected by winding alleys.
They lead to a round terrace centered on a fountain.
Chapel of the Hôtel de Biron
The architect Lisch built the chapel of the Hôtel de Biron in 1876.
The nave of the neo-Gothic building was converted into an exhibition hall when the Rodin Museum was open in 1919.
It was renovated in 2005.
It was also enlarged with a new temporary exhibitions hall, an auditorium and of course a ticket office and shop.
Visiting the Rodin Museum is a real pleasure!
The building is bright, spacious and artworks are wonderfully placed and highlighted.
You can stroll at your leisure in the gardens; they are a true oasis in the heart of Paris.
The Rodin Museum is one of the most delightful Parisian museums.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 10am-5.45pm – Free access
Directions: 7th district – 79 rue de Varenne
Metro: Varenne on Line 13 – RER C station Invalides
Bus 69, 82, 87, 92
Coordinates: Lat 48.855337 – Long 2.315964
An overview of the museum’s wonderful exhibits in the short video below…