RODIN MUSEUM … IN THE TOWN OF MEUDON …

  I have often been to the Rodin Museum – Musée Rodin – in Paris at No 9 Rue de Varenne in the 7th arrondissement  (district). There is however another Rodin Museum and I visited it for the first time now. This second Rodin Museum is in the town of Meudon, southwest of Paris. Known […]

Rodin Museum in Meudon (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

Rodin Museum in Meudon (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

 

I have often been to the Rodin Museum – Musée Rodin – in Paris at No 9 Rue de Varenne in the 7th arrondissement  (district).

There is however another Rodin Museum and I visited it for the first time now.

This second Rodin Museum is in the town of Meudon, southwest of Paris. Known as the Villa des Brillants it too is very much worth a visit. (Brillant translates as ‘bright’, ‘shining’, brilliant, and it is also the cut of a diamond.)

Meudon Rodin Museum May 2015 - 1

Villa des Brillants, Meudon (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Sculptor Auguste Rodin – full name François Auguste René Rodin, born on November 12, 1840 in Paris and who died on November 17, 1917 – had bought the three-floor house of stone and red brick in 1895 after he had first rented it for two years. There, he lived until his death in 1917.

He had died in the house and he lies buried in the property’s garden under a plaster copy of his sculpture The Thinker as was his wish. (See photo below.)

Rodin's tomb (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Rodin’s tomb (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Buried with Rodin is Rose Beuret the woman who was his companion and the mother of his only child, a son named Auguste-Eugène Beuret (1866-1934). A great womanizer – his affair with Camille Claudel has been recorded in many books and on the screen – he had married Rose Beuret in January 1917 after having been with her for 53 years. This was just two weeks before she passed away: the marriage took place on January 29, 1917 and she died on February 16. Both he and Rose Beuret were in poor health that January of the marriage, and Rodin was  to die too that year. He died on November 17 of “congestion of the lungs”. He was 77 years old. (Rose Beuret was a seamstress, Rodin himself had come from a poor family.)

The house was Rodin’s private residence but each day he went to Paris to sculpt in the studio he was renting on the first floor of a mansion – the Hôtel Biron.  The mansion at No 79 Rue de Varenne in Paris 7th arrondissement (district) today houses the Paris Rodin Museum. As Rodin was nearing the end of his life it was in his studio that he wanted to die, but the Paris Town Hall would not grant him permission to do so. The town hall was renting out rooms in the mansion to artists like Rodin, the painter Matisse, the dancer Isadora Duncan and writer and scriptwriter and movie maker Jean Cocteau. (In this case Hôtel does not mean it is a tourist hotel but this is what the French call a large private house or mansion.)

Rose Beuret lived in Meudon with Rodin. (Neither took much notice of their son who was brought up by family members.)

Many noted personalities went to Meudon to visit Rodin. One even used to live there with Rodin for shot periods. This was the Austrian poet and writer Rainer Maria Rilke – full name René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Marie Rilke (197501926). The latter was Rodin’s private secretary from September 1905 to May 1906 – eight months. (It is comforting knowing that even someone like Rilke could not at first make ends meet by writing alone and had to take on a day job.)

Another visitor to the house was the British Empire’s King Edward the 7th (1841-1910) which does not surprise me as the old lascivious monarch must have thought there would be many naked models about.  And I bet the deaf Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) did not accompany him.

Rodin's tomb (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

Rodin’s tomb (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

 

Today, visitors to the Villa des Brillants can only visit the house’s ground floor, and at that, just two rooms – the dining room and Rodin’s studio.

The dining room in Villa des Brillants (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins

The dining room in Villa des Brillants (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins

Rodin's studio in the Villa des Brillants (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Rodin’s studio in the Villa des Brillants (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The main part of the visit is therefore spent either in the garden or in the gallery which is a separate building behind Rodin’s tomb.

The garden (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The garden (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

In the gallery are plaster casts of all Rodin’s major works, among them The Burghers of Calais and sculptures of Balzac.  Also, almost covering one wall is a plaster cast of Rodin’s Gates of Hell.

 

The Burghers of Calais (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

The Burghers of Calais (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

Balzac by Rodin (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Balzac by Rodin (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

A complaint about the Villa des Brillants is that one does not see originals: yes, this is so.

Rodin's The Kiss (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Rodin’s The Kiss (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

Another complaint is that there is little to see in the house itself: yes, this is so.

More of the gallery's sculptures (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

More of the gallery’s sculptures (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

And there is yet another complaint which is that the house is difficult to get to: no, not really.

This is how you get to the house from Paris:

Take Métro Line 12 and go in the direction of Mairie d’Issy (Issy town hall) and this is where you descend. Right outside the station take bus No 190 and you descend at Hôpital Percy. The latter is a huge military hospital.  On descending you continue to walk in the direction the bus is going and you take the first street on the right. You will be walking alongside the hospital and you will see armed soldiers guarding the main gate of the hospital. Continue walking and you turn into Ave Auguste Rodin which will be the first street on your left. You will see the red sign for the house.

Remember, this is the best (easiest and shortest) way to get to the Villa des Brillants no matter what you read elsewhere.

It will cost you €5 to go in. There will be security men at the gate who will ask to see your bags.

Buy a Mobilis day transport ticket at your point of departure in Paris. It will cost you €9.30 and will be valid until 1 a.m. the next day. The ticket will also be valid for the bus from and back to the Mairie d’Issy Métro station. The Mobilis ticket is sold by zones: you need a 3-zone one for Meudon.

Now the following is a warning: there is no café or restaurant, or even a refreshment kiosk at the Villa des Brillants. Therefore take something – water or a cool drink – with you in case you should get thirsty.

And here is another warning: there is just one toilet, a cubbyhole of a place. It is behind the Gates of Hell sculpture. There is no sign to indicate it.

Rodin left the property to France and so too the right to make plaster casts of his sculptures.

The Villa des Brillants garden (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The Villa des Brillants garden (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

 

 

The Thinker on Rodin's tomb (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The Thinker on Rodin’s tomb (cc Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

After your visit to the Villa des Brillants walk back the way you had come to the house.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

One Response

5-29-2015 at 23:12:05

Camille Claudel has long been a favourite of mine. I actually think she is a more interesting artist than Rodin, though she had a lot of personal problems. I find him often a bit too macho for my taste. But that is probably a bit like swearing in the sculptor church. A visit to his museum would be nice anyhow.

If you wish not to miss one of my blogs, do subscribe.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

HOW TO CONTACT ME

Should you wish to contact me you can do so by email: marilyn@marilynztomlins.com