The French hardly skimp when it comes to their heritage. “The museum is at a historical turning point,” claims Chevillot. That’s not simply for its innovations in wheelchair accessibility (a rarity in Paris) and electrical and digital rewiring (the lights had been running on Victorian circuits). The museum also collaborated with Farrow & Ball on the paint: Biron Gray, a mousey taupe color, was created especially for the project. Sculpture and light are still linked lovers, in display at least, for a white backdrop can neuter marble contours.
The museum’s partnership with Farrow & Ball goes beyond furnishing. Samples were chipped from the mansion’s wallpapers and existing layers of paint, often uncovering unexpected twists like pulsating reds and gem greens, jewels stashed in the walls, so to speak. But it was this gray-green, a match to the heritage paint company’s Blue-Green No. 91, which was most commonly found.
As much as the museum’s nipping and tucking is a structural necessity, with a new face also comes a retooled vision. “It is now ready to open up to the rest of the world, to engage in international collaborations, and welcome the public of the 21st century,” adds Chevillot of the reboot. Rodin was a sculptor whose own process involved many studies—explorations in plaster mostly—and step-by-step scaling. There are a little over 30,300 works in the museum’s collection, 6,766 of which are sculptures, the majority of those plaster models. Almost in equal number are the antiquities serving as Rodin’s inspiration, forms that guided him in his own works.