Musee Rodin

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Musee Roden
79, rue de Varenne
75007 Paris, France
Voice: 00 33 (0) 1 44 18 61 10
Fax: 00 33 (0) 1 44 18 61 30

Museum building and garden may be visited seperately. The building contains various works as well as the personal collection of Rodin. The garden is dotted with sculptures including the "Burghers of Calais" and "The Gates of Hell".

Since 1919, the sculptures of Auguste Rodin have been housed in a mansion known as the Biron Hotel. The mansion was built by a hairdresser named Abraham Peyrenc in the seventeenth century when Paris Left Bank was still uninhabited. Peyrenc had come to Paris to seek his fortune and upon striking it rich ordered the most superb house Paris had ever seen to be built in the Faubourg Saint-Germain area. The house was completed in 1731, but Peyrenc died just one year later. His widow gave the house to the Duchess of Maine. Upon the death of the duchess, the mansion became the property of the Duke and Duchess of Biron where it received its name.

The mansion escaped the Reign of Terror unharmed, but during Napoleon's reign, it fell victim to the times. It was sold to the Dames du Sacre-Coeur, a religious group dedicated to the education of young women, who converted the hotel into a boarding school for girls of royal and aristocratic families. When the Church and State separated in 1905, however, the school was forced to close. Plans were made to demolish the mansion and replace it by rental apartments. In the meantime, it was divided into several small lodgings. The beautiful surroundings attracted artists including Henri Matisse, and August Rodin rented several rooms in which to store his art. The rooms became his studio where he worked and entertained friends among the wild gardens.

In 1909, Rodin pleaded with the French government not to destroy the house but to make it a museum of his work. He donated all his property, correspondence, and pieces of art to the state, and finally, in 1916, the government agreed to convert the Hotel Biron into a museum for him. The museum opened in 1919. Since then, many efforts have been made to restore the mansion to its original rococo splendor by re-creating the many decorative elements that were sold by the zealous Dames du Sacre-Coeur.

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