cover image Auguste Rodin: Drawings & Watercolors

Auguste Rodin: Drawings & Watercolors

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, . . Thames & Hudson, $34.95 (440pp) ISBN 978-0-500-97321-9

The authors of this hefty volume present several hundred illustrations selected from the thousands of drawings and watercolors by Rodin (1840–1917) housed in Paris's Musée Rodin. In the brief but incisive text, Le Normand-Romain, who was in charge of sculpture at the museum, traces the artist's development as a sculptor and discusses his early drawings, especially the figural studies in black ink for his monumental door, The Gates of Hell . Buley-Uribe, in charge of graphic works at the museum, covers the enormous output of drawings and watercolors, most of them depicting nudes and dancers, that Rodin produced during the rest of his life. She shows how these were influenced by the art of ancient Egypt and Greece as well as by Rodin's observations of Japanese theater and Javanese and Cambodian dancers, and she describes the wide range of materials and techniques he used as he experimented with various media. Unfortunately, the text, which is essential for understanding these works, is printed so lightly and in such small type that it is hard to read. Otherwise, this is a handsome book in which well-reproduced color illustrations underscore the genius of an artist whose remarkable drawings and watercolors, often shocking for their eroticism, deserve to be better known. (Apr.)