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June 12th, 2000
Rodin Museum Reopens June 28 to Free Family Day and Burst of Fireworks

The Museum is Newly Reinstalled after Eight-Month Closure

The Rodin Museum, housing one of the world's foremost collections of sculpture by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), will welcome visitors to its newly reinstalled galleries--now equipped with air conditioning--when it reopens June 28 with a free family day followed by an exciting burst of fireworks on Inquirer Night Out. The Rodin Museum, which closed last November for renovations, invites visitors to see afresh the monumental works of the most famous French sculptor of the 19th century and to join a Play with Clay activity during Fun in the Afternoon, from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum is located at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and houses the most important Rodin collection outside of Paris. Among its 127 sculptures, including bronze casts of the artist's greatest works, is The Thinker, among the most famous sculptures in the world, which broods over the Parkway from its outdoor pedestal. Movie magnate and philanthropist Jules E. Mastbaum (1872-1926) assembled this remarkable collection in just four years, from 1923 to 1926, and commissioned two accomplished French neoclassical architects working in Philadelphia--Paul Cret and Jacques Gréber--to collaborate on a museum and garden. The Rodin Museum opened to the public in 1929.

Unveiled on June 28 will be a lively and comprehensive reinstallation that showcases the Rodin Museum's collection of the sculptor's rare, early casts and accents Cret's original design of the exhibition space. Rodin's sculptures--many of which have been returned to their original Cret-designed pedestals--are presented in a balanced rhythm to dramatic effect throughout the galleries. To emphasize Rodin's dynamic and inventive powers in sculpting the human form, the Museum's main gallery now features the monumental figures of the Burghers of Calais surrounded by small-scale figurative works. Another highlight of the new installation is Albert Guillaume's Portrait of Auguste Rodin (c. 1915), a boldly outlined early-modernist painting that shows the bearded sculptor in smock and clogs, contemplating a work in progress as he smokes his pipe.

Beginning July 6, families visiting the Rodin Museum may also enjoy Rodin: A Guide for Children and Their Grown-Ups, a 12-page, fully illustrated publication featuring fun and instructive activities.

Recent renovations, which brought new central air-conditioning, a temperature-control system, and a fire-alarm system to the Rodin Museum, complete a series of improvements begun in 1997, which included the creation of a new Visitor's Center and updated Museum Store. Emphasizing the beauty of Mastbaum's intention and the Cret-Gréber design, all renovations to the Rodin Museum have been overseen by Missy Maxwell, of Susan Maxman Architects, in conjunction with the engineering firm Brinjac, Kambic & Associates, Inc.; the Conservation and Facilities departments of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Joseph J. Rishel, The Gisela and Dennis Alter Senior Curator of European Painting, the John G. Johnson Collection, and the Rodin Museum; and Katherine C. Luber, Assistant Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection. Funding and contract administration were provided by the City of Philadelphia's Capital Programs Office.

"A beloved and uniquely beautiful indoor and outdoor destination for generations of visitors from throughout the world, the Rodin Museum is, more than ever, a key element in our growing Museum's campus at the crown of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway," said Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "We're delighted to welcome the Rodin Museum's summer visitors with air-conditioned comfort, an illuminating reinstallation of its breathtaking collections and, most importantly, a spectacular site that looks its very best."

The Rodin Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A $3.00 donation is suggested. For information about the Rodin Museum, call (215) 763-8100.

The Museum's reopening coincides with Inquirer Night Out--a fun and festive evening featuring free admission to all the museums on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Inquirer Night Out is sponsored by Sunoco Welcome America!, and each year draws thousands of people to an appealing mix of special activities--all open to the public.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Marketing and Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at (215) 684-7860. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100, or visit the Museum's website at www.philamuseum.org.

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