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The Victor Hugo Bust

Hugo Bust by Rodin

Bronze bust of Victor Hugo by Rodin, 1883 

GMAG 1993.9

This exquisite bronze bust by the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), is one of the star pieces in our collection. Cast at the Rudier Foundry run by Alexis Rudier (d.1897) and his son, this bust bears a few inscriptions pertaining to its construction.

The bust is inscribed '1ère épreuve' on the right shoulder, and 'Alexis Rudier/Foundeur, Paris' on the back of the shoulder. It has the number '107' painted on the inside.

Rodin is regarded amongst many as the founder of modern sculpture. He is known for his most notable works such as 'The Thinker', 'The gates of Hell' and 'The Kiss'. Although classically trained, Rodin's sculptural works diverted from the 'traditional' decorative sculpture that people were used to in the late 19th century. Whilst his work received criticism, Rodin never changed his style, resulting in a body of work admired across the world.

The subject, Victor Hugo, is Guernsey's most famous ex-resident. Whilst Hugo initially refused to pose for Rodin, he later allowed the artist to make studies of him for a sculpture at his home on the Avenue d'Eylau. Rodin captured various angles of Hugo between February and April, 1883. The posing sessions were strict and could not last longer than 30 minutes. Rodin's first plaster version of the Bust of Victor Hugo is currently held in the Museo Soumaya in Mexico. The bust was reproduced many times, with replicas in bronze, marble and plaster now being found in numerous collections.

You can see our Victor Hugo Bust on display at Guernsey Museum at Candie daily 10 - 5. FREE entry with a Discovery Pass.