The Three Shades, 1881–86
75 1/2 x 75 1/2 x 42 inches (191.8 x 191.8 x 106.7 cm)
Auguste Rodin was born in Paris in 1840. In 1854, Rodin enrolled at the École Impériale de Dessin (the "Petite École"), a government school for craft and design. Although he was awarded two prizes for drawing and modeling at the age of seventeen, Rodin was unable to gain admittance to the prestigious and conservative École des Beaux-Arts, which rejected him three times. He began to use live models in 1863. In 1870, Rodin travelled to Brussels, where he remained for six years. In 1877, he exhibited The Vanquished (now titled The Age of Bronze) at the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire in Brussels, then the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris. He was accused of having cast his statue directly from life. In 1880, Rodin was commissioned by the French Ministry of Fine Arts to design The Gates of Hell, his first large-scale public project. Independent sculptures including The Three Shades were derived from The Gates of Hell. He exhibited many of these figures independently. By 1900 Rodin had achieved the pinnacle of success and he was able to complete long term projects including Monument to Victor Hugo. In 1908 Rodin moved to Meudon outside of Paris, where he remained until his death in 1917. Recent exhibitions include "Leaving Rodin Behind? Sculpture in Paris, 1905-1914," Musée d'Orsay, Paris (2009) and "Matisse & Rodin," Musée Rodin, Paris (2009).