It is appropriate that the image of Rodin's The Kiss was chosen as the visual emblem of the completed restoration of the Rodin Museum, Paris. The project has been a passionate labour of love for the Rodin Committee, patron Iris Cantor and the French state. The Rodin Museum is beloved by local and international visitors for its location, magnificent 18th century architecture, the accessibility of Rodin's works and its garden, presided over by Le Penseur ('The Thinker').
The renovation's first priority was structural – the listed building's parquet floors were not built to withstand either the weight of several tons of sculpture or the footfall of 700,000 visitors per year.
The second was to optimise the space. Widening the doorways and requisitioning two offices affords a fresh new perspective on Rodin's oeuvre via a fluid, chronological display. Two hundred additional works are exhibited, many for the first time, making the museum's the largest Rodin collection in the world.
Farrow & Ball developed the perfect shade of paint – an elegant greige entitled 'Biron Gray' – to complement marble, bronze, stone and terracotta equally. Lighting with ceiling sensors automatically adjusts the intensity of the natural daylight, artwork by artwork.
Says Iris Cantor, patron of the Iris and B Gerald Cantor Foundation, and sponsor of the restoration, 'We’ve accomplished what Bernie [the foundation's titular 'B'] would have wanted. That’s what the keeper of the legacy's mission does. To stand in the main hall and see our names with The Kiss right behind them, I’m overwhelmed. It’s very fulfilling, very emotional. I feel like Rodin and Bernie are looking down at us, saying "Good job!"'