Some world famous art will be on display in Stratford from this Friday.

A statue by French master sculptor Auguste Rodin will be on display in the Percy Thomson Gallery, along with a lithographic portrait by Renoir.

Rodin completed a statue which he called Eve, in 1882 and 15 bronze copies were cast from it 1959.

The bronze Eve is 75cm tall and weighs 22kg and is usually held at Te Papa.


Rodin originally worked on his statue of Eve while he was working on a design called The Gates of Hell. He planned to place a statue of Eve on one side of the gates, and one of Adam on the other.

He stopped work on the original Eve he later said, when his model became pregnant and was unable to continue posing for him.

He later exhibited the incomplete statue on its own, and it has become a favourite of art lovers world wide.

Eve is depicted naked and in despair after the fall from grace as described in the Bible.

The bronze statue is a main feature of the exhibition Remembering Rodin Te Whakamahara ki a Rodin which opens in Stratford's Percy Thomson Gallery on Friday.

"Rodin is accessible, relevant, powerful and universal," says Te Papa's Head of Art, Charlotte Davy.

"Eve relates to Rodin's famous master work, The Gates of Hell. The female figure is hunched in despair, a very 'Rodinesque' pose, showing humankind's humiliation following the expulsion from paradise. It's a beautiful image, but a tragic, melancholic, timeless one too."

Also included in the exhibition is a lithographic portrait of Rodin (1914) by his famous near contemporary Pierre-Auguste Renoir, along with a rare leather-bound edition of Gustave Coquiot's Rodin (Paris, 1915) with 57 hand-tipped photographs.


Percy Thomson Gallery Director Rhonda Bunyan says she is thrilled to bring Rodin's Eve to Stratford.

"Viewing Eve at such close quarters will be a stirring experience for visitors, young and old, and a rare opportunity to see the work of a master."

The exhibition opens concurrently with an exhibition of invited Taranaki artists to 'Hang With Rodin' and a contemporary photography exhibition by Rhonda Bunyan.

Remembering Rodin: February 21 – April 19. Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford
Opening event Friday February 21 at 7pm.