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«RODIN: A Biography» by Frederic Grunfeld (Kirkus Review, 1987.11.06)

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  • National Book Critics Circle
Article

«RODIN: A Biography» by Frederic Grunfeld (Kirkus Review, 1987.11.06)

Abstract

A vibrant biography of the great French sculptor (the first in over half a century) by a contributing editor of Connoisseur and author of Prophets Without Honor (1979)
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Kirkus Reviews
RODIN: A Biography
By
Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1987
Publisher: Henry Holt
A vibrant biography of the great French sculptor (the first in over half a
century) by a contributing editor of Connoisseur and author of Prophets
Without Honor (1979). With all the naturalistic detail and color of canvases
by his subject's contemporaries, Zola and Monet, Grunfeld chronicles
Rodin's rocky career: his birth to poor parents in hard-times Paris; his early
struggles with the ossified officialdom of the Ecole des Beaux Arts; his
happy six years' apprenticeship in Belgium (with its dual catalysts of Rubens
and Flemish light); his epiphanic visitation to Italy and the shrine of Michelangelo; and, finally, the trials
and tribulations of his later years, when, publicly, his commissioned monuments caused riots in the streets,
and privately, his Rabelaisian appetite for female flesh--the passionate ""need to touch"" that accounts in
no small part, Grunfeld notes, for the beckoning sensuality, the ""touch. me"" tactility of his sculpture--
involved the satyrical ""priapatriarch of the Paris art World"" in countless amatory imbroglios. That this
exhaustive catalogue is never dull is something of a feat: from an unshaped mass of documentary material
quarried from as far afield as America, England, and France, Grunfeld's Rodin, modeled in high relief
against his place and time, emerges not so much a statuary monument as a three-dimensional man.
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