Past exhibition

Rodin, Brancusi, Moore

Through the Sculptor’s Lens
22 May–11 July 2015

Waddington Custot Galleries, in collaboration with David Grob, is pleased to announce an exhibition presenting over fifty vintage photographs from the studios of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), and Henry Moore (1898-1986). Opening on 22 May 2015, Rodin, Brancusi, Moore: Through the Sculptor's Lens will focus on the importance and prominence of photography within the practice of each of these pre-eminent sculptors. Dating from the end of the nineteenth- to the late twentieth-century, the photographs capture a wide-ranging, often iconic, group of sculptures, including works which were never cast, or have since been lost or destroyed. Taken from the artists' own viewpoint, these photographs provide an intimate insight into their ground-breaking work.


Rodin realised the potential of photography when the medium was in its infancy, not least as a way to distribute images of his sculptures, in later years contributing to his livelihood and cementing of his international reputation. He employed a series of professional photographers, directing them to explore different views, angles and lighting effects. The photographs allowed him to closely study the three-dimensionality of his sculptures in progress. Photographs taken by Jacques-Ernest Bulloz, Eugène Druet, and Pierre Choumoff, will be exhibited; subjects include figures from Rodin's most famous commissions, 'The Burghers of Calais' and 'Monument to Balzac', 'The Thinker' and 'The Kiss'.


Brancusi asked: "Why write about sculpture? Why not just show the photographs?" Faithful to this philosophy, after being introduced to photography by Man Ray, Brancusi took photographs of his sculptures himself, developing and printing hundreds of images, the majority of which are now in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He viewed his photographs as crucial to the understanding of his sculpture, using them to explore essential aspects of his work: in a photograph of 'Endless Column', taken steeply from the base, against a background of sky, Brancusi accentuates the sense of infinity. Brancusi also aimed for results which professional photographers attempted to avoid; photographic 'accidents', reflections, and deep shadows, as seen in his photographs of 'Fish' and  'Golden Bird', where the shiny, metal surface is disrupted by bright glare.


Moore's photographs are the least known and rarely exhibited, yet he was a prolific photographer whose images reveal the close relationship between object and maker. Moore collaborated with renowned photographers, including John Hedgecoe, but he also produced his own extensive photographic catalogue of his work. This exhibition will include a number of photographs relating to Moore's commission for UNESCO. The different arrangements of figures on the maquettes, documented in these photographs, reveal his preparatory process. Moore's photographs of his monumental 'Two Piece Reclining Figure No.2' show another use for multiple shots, exploring surface detail and different angles which create unusual visual impressions of scale.


Rodin, Brancusi, Moore: Through the Sculptor's Lens brings together three sculptors who, in turn, had a profound knowledge of and appreciation for their predecessor's work and for whom photography played a fundamental role in the creative process.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Francis Hodgson, Professor in the Culture of Photography at the University of Brighton and photography critic of the Financial Times

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Installation views

Installation view of Brancusi



Francis Hodgson & David Grob in conversation

Waddington Custot Galleries Waddington Custot

Exhibition Publication