About the Rodin Museum


Jacques Gréber with the <i>Thinker</i>, Logan Square, Philadelphia, July 1926.
In the 1920s the City of Philadelphia was in the midst of creating the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as a great civic space. The Free Library of Philadelphia opened its central Logan Square location in 1927, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art's main building was opened to the public the following year. Nestled between these two public destinations on the Parkway, the intimately scaled Rodin Museum opened in November 1929. A unique ensemble of Beaux-Arts architecture and a formal French garden in which to experience the sculpture of Auguste Rodin, the Museum was designed by French architect Paul Cret (1876–1945) and French landscape designer Jacques Gréber (1882–1962). Its founder, the entrepreneur and philanthropist Jules E. Mastbaum, gave the Museum to his native city as a gift and it was immediately embraced and celebrated, drawing over 390,000 visitors in its first year. Today, it is one of the defining icons of the city, housing one of the most comprehensive public collections of work outside Paris by one of the world's most renowned sculptors.

Since 1929, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has administered the Rodin Museum and its collection. Over the years, several large sculptures originally installed outdoors were taken inside to protect them from the elements, and the original plantings became overgrown. The building, its galleries, and its grounds have been renovated to restore the Museum to its original vision, and new conservation treatments have made it possible to return sculptures to their intended places in the garden. The Museum has reopened with an inaugural installation dedicated to The Gates of Hell, the defining project of Rodin's career and one that consumed him for almost four decades.

An important part of visiting the Rodin Museum is experiencing the garden, which recently underwent a three-year rejuvenation effort supported by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, and generous public and private funders. The project was conceived and overseen by the landscape architecture firm OLIN and follows the spirit of the original plans by Cret and Gréber.