For over a century, the Philadelphia Flower Show has been celebrated world-wide as the pinnacle of floral creativity in the United States. From March 1 through 8, 1998, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Flower Show will share its spotlight with another famous local favorite, the Rodin Museum. As the featured exhibit in this year's show, which is titled "La Passion du Jardin," the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which organizes the Flower Show, will evoke the Rodin Museum, as well as the original designs for its formal French garden and reflecting pool.
"The Rodin Museum is a natural link between Philadelphia and France. Through a combination of historical research and show-biz sleight-of-hand, we will present the Museum as it looked on a spring day in the early '30s, with young trees, a glimmering pool, colorful flowers, and everything in perfect symmetry," explains Ed Lindemann, Designer and Director of the Flower Show.
Mr. Lindemann's evocation of the Rodin Museum is based on an original three-dimensional model made prior to the Museum's construction in 1929. The model, a working tool and presentational aid used by neoclassical architects Paul Cret and Jacques Gréber, was recently rediscovered by Betty Greene, Assistant to the Vice President for Operations at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and liaison for the Friends of the Rodin Museum and Garden.
Eve and The Age of Bronze, dramatic sculptures from the collection of the Rodin Museum, will overlook the Flower Show's re-creation of the Museum's garden. Another group of sculptures, including The Small Thinker, Cathedral, and Beside the Sea, will be on view within the Flower Show's version of the Rodin Museum. The installation will be complemented with a large scrim depicting Rodin's Thinker, which is perhaps the most widely recognized sculpture in the world.
"As long-time admirers of the great Philadelphia Flower Show, we are delighted that the Horticultural Society has chosen to celebrate the Rodin Museum. The Museum provides elegant inspiration, and Mr. Lindenmann, as well as his crew of florists, landscapers and volunteers, always display imagination and talent. We are sure that the 'floral' Rodin Museum will delight the 100,000 visitors expected by the Flower Show, just as the Rodin Museum itself is an oasis for art-lovers from throughout the world," comments Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which administers the Rodin Museum.
Located at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Rodin Museum is the legacy of Jules Mastbaum (1876-1926), the owner of a chain of movie theaters and one of Philadelphia's most prodigious and philanthropic collectors. Mastbaum assembled his extraordinary holdings of sculpture and drawings by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in three years between 1923 and 1926. Mastbaum commissioned Cret and Gréber to design and build the Museum, which opened in 1929. The Rodin Museum constitutes one of the most important collections of 19th-century sculpture anywhere in the world. With 127 bronzes, marbles and plasters by Rodin, it is second in scope only to the Musée Rodin in Paris. Treasures at the Museum include The Burghers of Calais, The Thinker, and The Gates of Hell. The Rodin Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday (to celebrate the Flower Show, the Museum will also be open on Monday, March 2). A $3.00 donation is requested. For information about the Rodin Museum, call (215) 763-8100.
The Philadelphia Flower Show will be on view at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 1 through 8. For information about the Flower Show, call (215) 988-8899.