Rodin Museum Records
Held at: Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives [Contact Us]Philadelphia Museum of Art, PO Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Rodin Museum, located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was constructed during the years 1926-1929 as a gift to the City of Philadelphia from Jules E. Mastbaum. The architects for the museum were Paul Philippe Cret and Jacques Greber, a Parisian who had previously conceived and worked on the development and planning of the Parkway. During the later years of his life, Mastbaum, a prominent philanthropist in Philadelphia, Head of the Stanley Company of America, and a movie theater magnate, had built the most important collection of Rodin's work outside of France, purchasing bronzes, prints, letters, books, and other documentary material from the Musée Rodin and other collections.
Originally, Jules Mastbaum wished to donate the building to the City of Philadelphia, making it city property, while remaining the owner of the works of art to be displayed there. However, Jules Mastbaum died before completing the negotiations with the Fairmount Park Commissioners. His wife, who was left to carry out the negotiations, altered the agreement by including the art works in the gift to the City. In 1929, an agreement was drawn up between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fairmount Park Commission making the Museum the caretaker of the Rodin Museum and its contents, while the City of Philadelphia retained ownership of the property.
The Rodin Museum remained untouched, aside from basic maintenance, until 1968 when the monumental bronze sculptures that had originally been installed on the grounds were brought inside to the Rodin Museum's main galleries in order to protect them from pollution and vandalism. This move brought about some discussion as to what to do with the side galleries. In 1982, an entrance for the physically handicapped was constructed. The smaller bronzes, marbles, and plasters which had been displayed in the gallery of the new entrance were removed and placed into storage. It became obvious to administrators that the installation of the galleries in Rodin Museum needed to be rethought and renovated. The renovation would include replacing the entire electrical system from 1929. Money was made available through two donors, the Alliance Francaise and the Women's Committee in 1988, enabling preliminary steps to be made toward the goals of the project. The Philadelphia Museum of Art and a National Endowment for the Arts grant made it financially possible for the work to be completed.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Includes a binder entitled, "PMA Officers and Staff, 1876-present," which consists of photocopies of annual report listings from 1876 to 1990. Archives Reference Files
- (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1969). Tancock, John L. Handbook.
- (Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976). Tancock, John L. The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: the Collection of the Rodin Museum
- (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Museum of Art, 1929). Watkins, Fridon, compiler. Catalogue of the Rodin Museum
- (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1989). Brownlee, David Bruce. Building the City Beautiful.
The materials of the "Subgroup A: Rodin Museum" range from 1892 - 1986, including materials dating from the inception of the Rodin Museum. The records of the collection reflect the administration of the Rodin Museum, including correspondence, acquisitions receipts, lecture notes, publications, photographs, and copies of the bequest agreement with Fairmount Park Commissioners. The emphasis of the collection is primarily focused on the years when John L. Tancock resided as Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture, from 1968 to 1972.
The records of "Subgroup B: Rodin Museum reinstallation" span from 1982-1990. This subgroup contains the records, which were generated during the time in which the Rodin Museum had considerable renovation work done on both the building and grounds. During the renovation period, which included, replacing the entire electrical system and installing handicapped entrances the small bronzes, marbles and plasters located in areas being worked on were placed in storage. These records contain, conservation reports performed on the various objects, prior to their reinstallation, contractor negotiations, financial records, blueprints and reports.
Throughout the history of the Rodin Museum, the Directors' of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as, the Curators of the Painting and Sculpture Department oversaw the administration of the Museum. Early records of the Rodin Museum will often be found in the Director's papers as well as the Curatorial or Department records. John Tancock served as the Curator of the Rodin Museum from 1968-1972 and generated a large amount of the records in Subgroup A, Rodin Museum. The department of European Painting before 1900 continued to Administer the Rodin Museum and collection after his departure. Many of the architectural plans for the Rodin Museum are found in the Facilities-Blueprint storage room, also known as the Safety Officer's Office. The Head of Facilities and Operations Department oversees the architectural drawings and is the contact person for access to those drawings. A photocopy of the building specification volume submitted by the architects Paul P. Cret and Jacques Greber in 1928 is available in the Archives Reference Files.
Although the records have been generated from the same department they remain in separate groups called Rodin Museum, subgroup A and Rodin Reinstallation, subgroup B. The topical heading for these two groups of records is Rodin Museum, abbreviated ROD and the letter of the appropriate subgroup. Subgroup A contains the records of the Administration of the Rodin Museum from 1892-1986. Subgroup B (1982-1990) is the continuation of the Rodin Museum subgroup A, with a specific focus on the reinstallation of the galleries in that building. At the time of this writing, the European Painting Department is still overseeing the Rodin Museum and records will continue to be added to the record group.
Five volumes primarily of photographs, as well as correspondence and other writings, were transferred from the Philadelphia Museum of Art Library after these records were processed in 1999. In July 2006, the material was incorporated into Subgroup A. Most of this material pertains to the artist although two volumes pertain to the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia.
In Oct. 2006 the Archives received photocopies of receipts of purchases Mastbaum made from the Parisian dealer F.&J. Tempelaere.
Photographic material from the Museum's Prints, Drawings and Photographs Department were incorporated at a sub-subseries level in January 2007, and currently identified in the first series in the "Photographs" subseries as "To be processed."
The Rodin Museum records were transferred to the Archives in two separate batches from the European Painting Department, which currently oversees the administration of the Rodin Museum. Subgroup A: Rodin Museum (two cubic feet and one oversize box) was transferred on July 24, 1998 and Subgroup B: Rodin Museum reinstallation (two document cases and one oversize box) was transferred in March of 1992.
These materials were arranged and described by Marcia Bassett. Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation.
- De Caso, Jaques
- Rollins, Alexandra W. (Alexandra West), 1953-
- Rosenthal, Albert, 1863-1939
- Tancock, John L.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Marcia Bassett
- Finding Aid Date
- Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation
- Access Restrictions
The records are open for research without restrictions under conditions of the Archives' access policy manual. Researchers should fill out the following form, which will be supplied by the Archivist: Permission to use the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives.
- Use Restrictions
Records may be copied for use in individual scholarly or personal research. Researchers should fill out the following forms, which will be supplied by the Archivist: Permission to copy archival material and Permission to publish archival material.
This subgroup include materials dating from the inception of the Rodin Museum. The records of the collection reflect the administration of the Rodin Museum, including correspondence, acquisitions receipts, lecture notes, publications, photographs, and copies of the bequest agreement with Fairmount Park Commissioners. The emphasis of the collection is primarily focused on the years when John L. Tancock resided as Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture, from 1968 to 1972.
The "Administrative" subseries shows the regular administrative functions of the Rodin Museum. Included here are the copies of the original bequest, which is housed at the Fairmont Park Offices; Conservation and Centennial reports, minutes and reports of the Rodin Committee; and attendance records. Rodin Committee Minutes 1964-1968 are found in record group WIN series 1, Rodin Committee Minutes 1964-1976 are found in record group CHE series 1. Although, technically a part of this series, the Rodin Committee minutes which remain active are housed in the European Painting Department, and will be added to the records on an ongoing basis.
Note that a large gap in administrative records is reflected here between the years 1942-1965. Many of the records for that time period will be found in the records of Directors from that period, Fiske Kimball, director from 1925-1955, followed by Henri Marceau, 1955-1964, and Evan Hopkins Turner, 1964-1977.
This subseries primarily focuses on the early purchases and inventory lists created for insurance purposes. Auction prices were kept by John Tancock in the European Painting Department, and include specific auction sale records of Rodin's work. Also of interest are the certificates from the Musée Rodin for the purchase of Rodin works, signed by Georges Grappe the Curator of the Musée Rodin, and list Jules Mastbaum's early purchases from the Musée Rodin, and other Rodin related materials including a list of the books purchased.
The "Catalogue" and "Building" sub-subseries of the "Correspondence" subseries reflect the correspondence of the "Publications and Lectures" and the "Building" subseries. While most of the correspondence in the "General" sub-subseries pertains to the administration of the museum, it also includes some of the artist's own correspondence.
Included here are letters from Auguste Rodin addressed to Emile Bergerat, Roger Marx, T.H. Bartlett, and Felix Bracquemond. There is also a volume of contemporary correspondence and other writings compiled by Claude Roger-Marx, who along with his father Roger Marx, were accomplished art critics and historians and friends of Rodin. Correspondence between the Estate of Jules Mastbaum and Rodin Museum administrators including, Henri Marceau, are included here. The bulk of this subseries consists of the administration and reference correspondence which reflects the work of John Tancock and the European Painting Department regarding the Rodin Museum.
The subseries includes the correspondence related to the acquisition of works, authentications, and reference inquires. Correspondence with Professor Albert Elsen [Rodin scholar], Georges Grappe [Curator at the Musèe Rodin], Sturgis Ingersoll, Kirk Varnedoe [Rodin Scholar], Madame Cecile Goldscheider [Curator at the Musèe Rodin], Elizabeth Geissbuhler [Rodin Scholar], Hobart Williams [Executive Assistant to the Director and Curator of the Rodin Museum] and E.H. Turner are of interest.
It became quite evident to the staff during the latter half of the 1960s that an updated catalogue of the Rodin collection in Philadelphia was in demand. Previous catalogues of the collection in Philadelphia had been produced starting in 1929 with Fridon G. Watkins who compiled a catalogue followed by 1930, 1933, and 1945 being the third edition. In 1969, John L. Tancock authored a Rodin Museum: Handbook, which was reprinted in 1969, 1985, and 1997. The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The collection of the Rodin Museum was published in 1976 with a second printing in 1989. This sub-subseries reflects the impetus in managing such a project, negotiations between publishing houses, and the thank you letters received from the public after the publication of the catalogue are included here.
This sub-subseries primarily consists of preliminary planning between the City of Philadelphia and the Mastbaums (Jules and Mrs. Mastbaum). There is a large gap in the series ending in 1930 and starting again in 1969. The copies of the Acceptance of Plans are found here along with extensive correspondence with Mrs. Mastbaum. The University of Pennsylvania houses the papers of Paul Phillipe Cret, along with his architectural drawings, 1900-1945. The correspondence between Jaques Greber and Paul P. Cret are found in the papers of Paul P. Cret at University of Pennsylvania and in the records of H2L2 Architects and Planners, Philadelphia.
The subseries contains published articles, notes, dissertations and thesis, and lectures. Many of the articles were written during the artist's lifetime, including an indexed volume of typescripts of French newspaper clippings published between 1886 and 1917. With illustrations omitted, the 1930 catalogue to Philadelphia's Rodin Museum appears to be a publisher's proof of an edition that was never finalized. Also included are John Tancock's lecture notes and a bibliography of the Rodin resources. The "Articles" folder contains a list of the inventory of Rodin Museum which is not dated. Due to their size, some of articles have been transferred to the Special Format subseries.
Alphabetical by either personal name or subject, and then by date.
These records focus mainly on the construction and repairs to the museum. Architectural drawings for the Rodin Museum are located in the Facilities-Blueprint storage room also known as the Safety Officers Office. Drawings from the original blueprints include Work No. 176, Sheets 1-9 dated March 12, 1928, General Garden Plan; Plot Plan-Garden Details, Plans; Elevations and sections; Details; Structural Drawing; Plumbing-Heating-Electrical Plan; Meudon-Monument and Steps-Base for Penseur; and General plans showing disposition of plantation from July 1928.
Recent architectural plans are also found in the Facilities - Blueprint storage room, including those drawings from the Rodin Reinstallation subgroup. The Head of the Facilities and Operations Department oversees the architectural drawings and is the contact person for access to these drawings.
The "Publicity and public relations" subseries is mainly centered on events beginning in the late 1960s and continuing into the 1970s. Two folders from this series contain earlier material, such as gallery announcements and opening reception invitations. The main grouping of materials date from 1965-1977. This was a period when renewed interest in the Rodin Museum spurred fund-raising events and benefits.
The Photograph subseries primarily reflects the use of reproduction photographs in research and documentation. The "Work in other collections" sub-subseries is heavily documented and one may find it helpful to also refer to the "Other collections" subseries when viewing these photographs.
Contained here are photographic reproductions of work the Philadelphia Museum of Art owns. The Rights and Reproduction office contains the original negatives and request for reproduction of prints should be channeled through that office. The sub-subseries also includes reproduction photographs of prints found in Library books. The Library holds the original books in its collection. Additionally, of interest is a photograph list generated from the Museum's Rights & Reproduction Department titled, List of Photographs in the Library.
Alphabetical by name or subject.
This sub-subseries contains photographic reproductions of works in both private and public collections. It may be useful to refer to "Other collections" subseries when viewing this sub-subseries.
The sub-subseries contains photographic reproductions of work that is closely related to Rodin's own work but which has been determined to be made by other artists.
This sub-subseries contains photographs of the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia and Paris, portraits of the artist, his signature and other important documentation. A bound volume of variously-sized photographs includes shots of the artist in his Meudon studio and several posthumous pictures of the artist lying in state. The indexed photograph album of sculpture in the Rodin Museum of Philadelphia includes exterior views of the building as well as interior shots, including a reading room.
Photographs that Edward Stiechen took of Rodin and his work are housed in the Print Department.
This sub-subseries holds the photographs that were removed from the correspondence file. Separation sheets document from which folder and series they were removed.
These items were incorporated into this record group in January 2007 and consist primarily of photographs and photographic postcards of Rodin's sculptures as well as portraits of the artist and other contemporaries. There are also several shots of both the Paris and Philadelphia museums devoted to Rodin. The images were produced in Paris and the United States, and in this sub-subseries are grouped by subject represented, namely "people," "objects," and both museums. These categories are further divided by photographer or printer, where identified. The Parisian photographer Choumoff produced most of the images of the artist and his colleagues, as well as the artist just days before his death and posthumously lying in state. Certain object photographs have information about the piece handwritten on the verso. One of note is the photograph of the portrait sculpture of Omer DeWavrin. The inscription, in French, is by his wife, and she notes that the work is given to the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.
This subseries reflects research to locate and identify other institutions and private collections holding Rodin's work.
Alphabetically by folder title.
This subseries contains glossy magazines, newsprint materials, blueprints, photostats and other materials that were too large to be housed with their original folder, or which were too acidic or fragile. For those materials that have been separated from the original folder, separation forms exist in both the original folder that the materials were housed, and in the new folder.
Contained here are articles removed from the original folders due to the size. Separation forms exist which assist in identifying the original location of the article. Materials that originally existed as special format items such as Newsprint clippings have been reformatted and remain in this subseries.
Alphabetical by folder title.
Contained here is one folder which holds photostats of the plans and pedastals.
This sub-subseries contains two folders with reproduction photographs of Rodin's work.
Alphabetical by folder title.
This sub-subseries holds two folders, one containing the metal plate used for the printing of the original invitation to the opening of the Rodin Museum in 1929.
This subgroup contains records which were generated during the time in which the Rodin Museum had considerable renovation work done on both the building and grounds. During the renovation, which included replacing the entire electrical system and installing handicapped entrances, the small bronzes, marbles, and plasters located in areas being worked on were placed in storage. These records contain conservation reports performed on the various objects prior to their reinstallation, contractor negotiations, financial records, blueprints, and reports.
This subseries consists of one folder titled "NEA Grant," which contains a grant proposal to the national Endowment for the Arts and correspondence between the Grants Coordinator, Museum Departments, and Contractors.
These records document project expenditures, including the cost of contractors and supplies purchased by the museum.
These records are organized as to reflect the various departments of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that were involved in the reinstallation process. The folders primarily contain memoranda.
The "Contractors" subseries reflects the negotiations between Museum personnel and contractors employed for the reinstallation process.
The "Reception" subseries holds a list of the persons invited to the opening reception, including a publicity list and public mailing list.
Alphabetical by folder title.
This subseries, comprised of two folders, contains materials that are oversized or which need special treatment. Includes architectural drawings by the Susan Maxwell architecture firm.