89 Rodins Find a New Home

B. Gerald Cantor commits to the campus.

September 2023

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Collage of Rodin statues

SCULPTING A COLLECTION: Cantor and Elsen (center, with Walking Man) worked together to build a home for Rodin research that today includes (clockwise from left) a nude study of Jean d’Aire, whose full-size, clothed counterpart is among the Burghers of Calais now installed in the Quad; hands that have become the subject of their own exhibit; and an outdoor garden where courses are taught. Clockwise from Right: Gift of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation; Stanford University Archives (3)

When B. Gerald Cantor, an “obsessed” collector of Auguste Rodin sculptures, first visited Stanford in 1973, he was wowed.

“I had an immediate affinity with the place; it had everything, a beautiful 19th-century building with a rotunda, which dates from Rodin’s lifetime, and large exterior space for a sculpture garden, which I paced off,” said the Beverly Hills investment banker, according to the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation website.

In February 1974, Cantor and his wife made a remarkable gift to Stanford of 89 Rodins; ultimately, the couple would help build the university’s collection into the largest one beyond that of the Musée Rodin in Paris. 

The bronze figures have made Stanford a haven for Rodin research, first led by the late art professor Albert Elsen, who championed the realization of the outdoor sculpture garden, where passersby find inspiration 24 hours a day. One such visitor: James Chang, ’87, a Stanford professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery who in 2014 collaborated with a curator on an exhibit about the various maladies evident in the sculptures’ hands, from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease to a ganglion cyst.

Christine Foster is a writer in Connecticut. Email her at stanford.magazine@stanford.edu.

Vintage 1973 Collection

Stanford is 50! It turns out we’re not the only one. Walk with us down memory lane as we sample some of the wonders and horrors of the 1973–74 academic year on the Farm, and in the world around.

Start the Presses

Were Golden

89 Rodins Find a New Home

A Godfather Delivers a Ransom Payment

A Splashy Debut

The Winds of Freedom

SLE Club

‘Until the Birds Took Over the Singing’

The Poet and the Coup

Steps Toward Saving Salamanders Are Set in Motion

A Sequel for Supersonic Flight?

The First Stanford Astronaut Returns from Space

The End of the Nursing Education Era

Keepers of the Flame

50 Years After the Stanford Murders, Three of Four Families Have Answers

A Classic Is Released

A Young Lawyer Wins an Educational Equity Case

Joining the Force


The Axe Is Stolen One Last Time

Fit to Be Tried

For Commencement Speaker, a Watergate Special Prosecutor

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