Rodin’s Sculpture in Japan and the Economics of Translocation




Rodin, Musée Rodin, Translocation, Currency, Japan, d'Oelsnitz, Matsukata


Japanese art collectors acquired a large number of Rodin’s sculptures in the 1920s. While recent exhibitions have detailed the increasingly favourable critical reception of Rodin’s oeuvre in Japan during the early twentieth century, the underlying economic context behind the translocation of Rodin’s sculptures from Paris to Japan has remained largely unstudied. This paper argues that the collapse in the value of the French franc, among other economic disruptions occurring in France during the 1920s, played a significant role in the timing and scale of this translocation. The paper draws on board reports from the archives of the Musée Rodin in Paris and quantitative currency data recorded by the United States Federal Reserve Bank to examine the demand and supply characteristics of the market for Rodin’s sculptures in Japan. This analysis provides the alternative perspective within which the dynamics of art market translocations can be further understood. 

Author Biography

David Martin Challis, University of Melbourne

David Challis is a third year PhD candidate in the Art History School at Melbourne University in Australia.  His thesis examines the economic context and art historical consequences of the global diaspora of French modernist art in the first half of the twentieth century. He is the recipient of the Art History School’s Dwight Final Assessment Prize (Fine Arts) for academic merit 2014, the Australian Post-Graduate Award 2015 and the Australian Centre PhD Top-Up Scholarship for academic merit 2015.  In March 2017 he presented the paper Moving Mountains: reframing the diaspora of Paul Cézanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire motif at the Pioneers of the Global Art Market symposium at Christie's New York. An adaption of this paper is due to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in an unpcoming edited book titled 'Pioneers of the Global Art Market: Paris-Based Dealer Networks, 1850-1950.'  David returned to full time study at Melbourne University in 2013 after a twenty-five-year career in the Financial Markets Industry based in Australia and London.




How to Cite

Challis, D. M. (2018). Rodin’s Sculpture in Japan and the Economics of Translocation. Journal for Art Market Studies, 2(2).