External Project: Technical Study of Rodin sculptures at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Center at Stanford University (2015)

Ganio Xray Rodin

Partner: Cantor Art Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

In collaboration with the Cantor Art Center at Stanford University, NU-ACCESS is conducting an extensive study of Rodin bronze sculptures. The Rodin collection at the Cantor includes sculptures cast over manydecades; from Rodin’s lifetime to a large number of posthumous castings from the 1950’s to 1980’s. Detailed archival information on these sculptures, very often including the date of casting and the foundry name, allows us to identify the unique metal formulation used at a given foundry and to document changes to alloy composition over time. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) is the preferred tool for determining the major element composition of metal alloys, which is namely copper with variable amounts of zinc and tin. By comparing the data with the bronze sculptures previously analysed at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, we expect to gain a better sense of casting practices inside the major Parisian foundries. Particular attention is given to the Rudier foundry in this study that appears to be characterized by an extremely consistent metal composition throughout almost a century of activity, first with Alexis and Eugène, and then under the supervision of George.

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