Monument to Balzac
Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
On View

Given the power and brutality of the human form in Auguste Rodin’s Monument to Balzac, it is no surprise to find that the work was universally rejected by all but the most progressive viewers upon its first exhibition in 1898. The sculpture is an expressive, potent portrait of the embattled writer, and it took Rodin seven years of meticulous study to complete. Its action, its plays with light, and its spectacular vitality—all cornerstones of Rodin’s technique—broke entirely with the sculptural traditions of the past and nearly singlehandedly brought the medium into the twentieth century. Rodin himself said that the work was beyond compare, claiming that it was “the sum of my whole life, the result of a lifetime of effort, the mainspring of my aesthetic theory. From the day of its conception, I was a changed man.”


  • Artist Name: Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917)
  • Title: Monument to Balzac
  • Date: 1897
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Edition: Edition of 12, Cast No. 8.
  • Dimensions: 107 x 44 x 48 in. (271.8 x 111.8 x 121.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1966.09.S
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Sculpture from the Collections of Norton Simon, Inc. and the Hunt Industries of Art

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1968-08-19 to 1972-01

[on loan]

  • Fullerton Library, 1967-07-20 to

Three Centuries of French Art: Selections from The Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and The Norton Simon Foundation_1

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1973-05-03 to 1976-06-15
  • Brommer, Gerald F., Discovering Art History, p. 375
  • Tancock, John, The Connoisseur, p. 238
  • Sculpture Garden, Norton Simon Museum, no. 4
  • Graham, F. Lanier, Three Centuries of French Art, no. 53, fig. 13 pp. 45, 150-151
  • Tancock, J., The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, 1976, p. 459
  • Bryan Hunt, A Decade of Drawings, 1983, fig. 9 p. 52
  • Asher, Gerald, Gourmet Magazine, 1986, p. 60
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 321 p. 284

Additional Artwork by Artist

Jean de Fiennes, Vetu Auguste Rodin 1884-95
Mouvement de Danse G Auguste Rodin c.1910-11
Pas de Deux B Auguste Rodin c.1910-13

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