Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement at The Courtauld Gallery Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN

20 October 2016 – 22 January 2017

By 1900, Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was considered France’s greatest living artist, and managed a large studio producing bronzes and marbles for commissions around the world. However, his practice also took a more private and intimate turn, developing his long-term passion for capturing expressive movement in drawings and small scale sculptures.

This is the first major exhibition to explore Rodin’s fascination with dance and bodies in extreme acrobatic poses. It will explore a series of experimental sculptures known as the Dance Movements made in 1911, offering a rare glimpse into Rodin’s unique working practices.

These stretching, leaping and twisting figures in terracotta and plaster are presented alongside a series of remarkable drawings in which Rodin explored movement and new forms of dance. They include the acrobatic models who posed for him in the studio as well as performers from the Royal Cambodian dance troupe who took Paris by storm.

While many of the drawings of dancers were exhibited within Rodin’s lifetime, the sculptures were seen only by his very closest circle of friends and supporters. They may be considered his last major project, reflecting how the final years of his life were a period of playful experimentation.