The Musée Rodin is a big highlight of every Paris tour, which opened its doors to the public on August 04, 1919. The museum is situated in a large house called the Hôtel Peyrenc de Moras which at the present is called the Hôtel Biron. A Paris tour to this place shows you around 300 works from the collection of Rodin in Hôtel Biron.
The Hôtel Biron in the 18th Century
The mansion where the Musée Rodin now dwells is situated in the Rue de Varenne, Paris. It was actually built for a financer called Abraham Peyrenc de Moras. The building has a rocaille architecture, as that was the architectural style that was trending at that period. Since the building was located in the outer end of Paris, it was considered as a townhouse as well as a country residence.
Sadly, Abraham Peyrenc de Moras died before the completion of his dream home, and his widow rented the estate to the Duchess of Maine. The Duchess made some modifications in the interior of the mansion. After the death of the Duchess, the mansion was sold to Louis-Antoine de Gontaut-Biron. He made a lot of changes in the grounds of the estate by making a beautiful English style garden, digging pools, and increasing the size of the ornamental garden. It was he, who left the name the Hôtel Biron to the mansion.
The Hôtel Biron in the 19th Century
The estate had a series of owners from 1788. In 1820, the Duchess of Charost sold the property to three nuns. The religious organization changed it to girl’s boarding school. Lots of changes were made in the estate as the years passed by. As the years passed the original works of decoration in the Hôtel Biron started disappearing. Many of the decoration works were sold to get enough money for the conversion works. By the end of the 19th Century, the estate garden was converted into a kitchen garden, pastureland, and an orchard.
The Hôtel Biron in the Early 20th Century
Auguste Rodin occupied the entire building from 1911 onwards. The property came in the hands of the government of French in 1911 and by the next year, they committed themselves to purchase Hôtel Biron in order to accommodate their Department of Civil Buildings. All the occupants of the building other than Rodin were asked to leave the building. Rodin tried his level best to save the building by negotiating with the state.
“I give the State all my works in plaster, marble, bronze, and stone, and my drawings, as well as the collection of antiquities that I had such pleasure in assembling for the education and training of artists and workers. And I ask the State to keep all these collections in the Hôtel Biron, which will be the Musée Rodin, reserving the right to reside there all my life.” Auguste Rodin – Correspondence of Rodin, volume III, 1908-1912, letter no. 103 to Paul Escudier, late 1909.