Tuesday, November 6, 2012

. . . I love Paris in the fall. . .

Rodin’s gardens glistened:
His sculpted shapes breathed a mythical air. 

As darkness fell, a contingent of literary aficionados made their way along the path to a cozy park café.  Raindrops pelted gently against the glass walls as I began my talk by discussing the role of artists in parks in and around Paris.

The museum and gardens that feature the famous sculptor’s works in the 7th arrondissement had not sprouted by happenstance.   It is thanks to Auguste Rodin’s vision and generosity that this extraordinary property has been preserved.  Once the City of Paris had acquired the beautiful Hotel Biron early in the 20th century, Rodin proactively leased it and installed his artwork.  He also arranged that the entire project –both museum and gardens of his masterful sculptures – would remain public.

Rodin’s home and workshop was not situated in Paris itself, but in the small town of Meudon, just south of Paris.  This charming home and adjoining workshop surrounded by gardens too has been protected due to his own planning and organization.

A Stanford alumni group led by the dynamic Maria Adle Besson sponsored the event in the Rodin garden café.  How delightful to give a presentation on my Paris parks book right in the middle of one, to such an enlightened group, and all on a rainy eve.