The Musée Rodin in Paris, which reopened earlier this week, is boosting revenue amid the coronavirus crisis by increasing its sales of replica sculptures.
The museum, with an estimated shortfall of €4.4 million in revenue, is selling bronze cast editions of Auguste Rodin’s sculptures to offset the financial loss caused by COVID-19.
Sculptures are made from original moulds that were bequeathed by Rodin. The editions are cast in strict compliance with the law, limiting their number to 12 casts.
Sales of casts of Rodin’s bronze sculptures make up nearly 30 percent of the museum’s revenue, which comes to €11 million annually.
Bronze editions of sculptures by Auguste Rodin
The museum gets €8 million from the shop, restaurant and ticket sales, and €3 million from the casts of bronze sculptures.
“This year, we’ve surpassed our objective from selling the bronzes and should make a profit of €1.4m,” Catherine Chevillot, the museum’s director, told The Art Newspaper.
“But, with the pandemic, we have an estimated loss of €4.4m in revenue, so the sales’ profit will lower our deficit to €3m.”
On Rodin, Chevillot added: “He wanted to not only give his collection, works, archives and his house in Meudon but his author’s rights and the mission to continue the original editions of bronzes.”
The Thinker, The Kiss and The Waltz
The museum previously changed its policy on the statues, quadrupling the number of works that can be cast into bronze.
“Our strategy is to increase the offer and opportunities for sales to new markets,” said Chevillot.
Some sculptures have reached their maximum number of 12 bronze editions, including The Thinker. One edition can be made of The Kiss and four of The Gates of Hell.
The Musée Rodin hopes to display the works in public institutions and museums, but they can be purchased by private collectors.
In addition, the museum creates cheaper miniature reproductions of Rodin’s sculptures, including The Thinker, The Kiss, The Cathedral, and The Waltz.