The Sculptor and His Muse
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Sr. Contributor

One of Rodin's kinkier remixes.

Rodin took the DJ approach to sculpting by remixing many of his greatest hits into new works. That's exactly what we have here with The Muse. The fella on the left is an upcycled version of Rodin's The Man with the Broken Nose. The eponymous muse is perched with a hand and a foot on his junk, whispering ideas into his ear. The idea for something like this had been with Rodin for many years. There's numerous sketches the artist did figuring out the shape this intellectual tryst should take. The most important thing for Rodin was getting the relationship between the muse and what he described as the sculptor's "thinking parts" just right. 

This sculpture was a personal gift to the museum and the city by none other than Big Alma Spreckels. Big Alma was seeking some retail therapy in Paris after finding out that her husband, sugar magnate Adolph Spreckels, had been hiding a case of incurable tertiary syphilis from her since before their marriage. Luckily, neither Alma nor her three children with Adolph acquired the infection. But, she decided at that point it was high time to spend the sugar king's money on some 18th century furniture. While in Paris, Big Alma befriended ex-pat vaudeville dancing sin-sation Loie Fuller. The vaudevillian turned Alma on to the art world, introducing her to Auguste Rodin. Alma left Europe just before World War I broke out. Loie stayed in France and acted as Alma's personal art dealer with Rodin, making the sugar king's queen the first and most prominent collector of the artist from outside France.