Gelatin silver print
Image: 36.2 x 43.8 cm (14 1/4 x 17 1/4 in.); Paper: 36.5 x 44 cm (14 3/8 x 17 5/16 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 66 cm (22 x 26 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Mann 1989.399
© The Estate of Edward Steichen / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
When Steichen arrived in Paris in 1900, August Rodin (1840-1917) was regarded not only as the finest living sculptor but also as one of the greatest artists of the time. Steichen visited Rodin's studio in 1901, and the sculptor, upon seeing the young photographer's work, agreed to sit for a portrait. Steichen spent a year studying Rodin among his creations, finally choosing to depict the artist in front of the newly carved white marble Monument to Victor Hugo, facing a bronze of The Thinker. This image was created from two different negatives printed together. Stiechen did not have a wide-angle lens when he photographed Rodin, and the sculptures and blocks of marble filled the artist's studio to capacity. Posed in relief against his work, Rodin seems to contemplate The Thinker as his alter ego, while the luminous carved figure of the great French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885) suggests poetic inspiration as the source of the sculptor's creativity.
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