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The Thinker Summers Near Grand Rapids

The Thinker Summers Near Grand Rapids

Rodin's The Thinker has sat at the entrance to the Detroit Institute of Arts for decades, welcoming generations of visitors to one of the nation's largest fine arts museums.
Now, for the first time since acquiring it in 1922, the DIA is loaning out the iconic sculpture while the 600,000-square-foot museum is closed this summer for the final phase of a $158 million renovation that began six years ago.
Since The Thinker had to be moved to accommodate exterior work, museum officials arranged with officials at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park just east of Grand Rapids to temporally move it there until the work is completed.
The Thinker will leave Detroit May 22 and go on display the next day at Meijer Gardens, where it will stand outdoors through Oct. 31 in a grassy area near a waterfall.
"For his summer vacation, we're providing him with as tranquil a setting as we can," Joseph Becherer, director and curator of sculpture and special collections at Meijer Gardens, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Friday.
DIA Director Graham W.J. Beal said the institute is asked regularly to loan the famous bronze sculpture. The DIA rejected such a request from a New York museum earlier this year.
"It's rather a big thing to lend out," Beal said. "It's in front of our museum, and we don't lend it out."
The DIA will cover most costs, including packing and shipping the sculpture to and from Meijer Gardens.
Auguste Rodin, considered to be the father of modern sculpture, created The Thinker in the 1880s as part of a larger work, Gates of Hell, a sculpture based on Dante's "Divine Comedy."
Two of his other pieces that Meijer Gardens has in its permanent collection, Eve and The Kiss, also originated as part of "Gates of Hell" and later were enlarged and created as independent works by the French artist.
The DIA's version of The Thinker, which was cast in 1904, was donated to the museum by Horace H. Rackham, in 1922. When the DIA moved to its current home in 1927, the statue originally was placed inside the building's Great Hall but later was placed outside the museum's entrance.
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On the Net:
http://www.dia.org
http://www.meijergardens.org