Bust of Jules Mastbaum
Henri Gréber, French, 1855 - 1941
The Rodin Museum and its vast collection are in Philadelphia thanks to one of the city’s great philanthropists, Jules E. Mastbaum (1872–1926), whose likeness is shown here. In 1924 Mastbaum—a native Philadelphian successful in real estate and in the motion-picture industry—began collecting works by Auguste Rodin with the express purpose of creating a museum that would become a “place of pilgrimage” for art lovers throughout the city and the nation. Within two years he had amassed the largest collection of Rodin sculptures and drawings outside Paris.
Tragically, Mastbaum died in 1926, a year before ground was broken for the Rodin Museum. His wife, Etta Mastbaum, worked with architects Paul Cret and Jacques Gréber to complete the Beaux-Arts–style building and the formal garden surrounding it and the museum opened to the public on November 29, 1929. She also collaborated with Cret and Gréber in designing this tribute and entrusted the carving of the bust to Henri Gréber, Jacques Gréber’s father.
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