The Rodin Museum and Garden Landscape Rejuvenation ProjectAdministered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1939, the historic Rodin Museum is renowned for both the beauty of its grounds and architecture, an extraordinary blend of art and nature, and for the importance of its holdings—one of the largest collections of works by Auguste Rodin in the world. The time came, however, to rejuvenate the exterior of the museum and its surrounding garden and landscape in the spirit of its original 1929 design. Under the direction of OLIN landscape architects, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fairmount Park Commission, and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society therefore collaborated on a project to renew and showcase this urban oasis, making it accessible to all for years to come.
Drawing upon the original plans and correspondence of the gifted architects Paul Cret and Jacques Gréber, who had been commissioned by Jules Mastbaum in the late 1920s to design, respectively, a neoclassical Beaux Arts building and formal garden for his extensive collection of Rodin sculpture, the new design enhances and amplifies the old vision while placing special focus on the relationship of the museum’s entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The project was both an essential component of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Master Plan and part of a larger project to re-imagine and renew the entire Parkway as a preeminent artery for arts and culture and a wellspring for the region’s social and economic vitality. Designed by Gréber in the early twentieth century to evoke the Champs Élysées in Paris, the Parkway is among the nation’s greatest cultural corridors, connecting the splendor of City Hall to preeminent institutions of art, culture, and learning, crowned by the treasure-filled Philadelphia Museum of Art and the natural glories of Fairmount Park. The Parkway was further enriched with the opening of the famed Barnes Collection’s new home in 2011.