Auguste Rodin’s statues have come to Pierce County.
All three statues, which are versions cast after the artist’s death, are in a Spanaway garden at the LeMay Collections at Marymount — a place better known for classic automobiles than iconic works of art.
“This is really an awakening, I would say, of letting other people know that we are so much more than just cars,” director Trudy Cofchin said this week.
There was a sneak peek of the statues Saturday during the 40th annual LeMay Show, which features vintage vehicles and other collections.
But the garden is under construction and won’t formally open to the public until the grand opening.
That’ll be in a month or two and is meant to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the artist’s death in November, Cofchin said.
Until then, she said the donor or donors of the Rodin works want to remain anonymous.
She couldn’t say when the statues were donated or if they’d ever been displayed elsewhere.
Many casts of Rodin’s work exist around the world, done before and after his death. The artist’s museum and many other sites, have casts of “The Thinker,” for example.
Evan McMullen is a local art enthusiast who served as an adviser and coordinated the LeMay project.
McMullen said the statues at the LeMay Collections were cast in bronze in the 1990s from Rodin’s plaster models.
In addition to the outdoor statues, McMullen said the plan is to display additional Rodin artwork inside Marymount in the future, and creating a space for rotating artists. He didn’t know of a specific timeline for that but thought it might happen in a year or so.
Meanwhile, the public opening of the statues will be announced in the museum’s online newsletter, which can be subscribed to at lemaymarymount.org.
Cofchin said she looks forward to the project bringing additional people to the museum (not to be confused with LeMay — America’s Car Museum, in downtown Tacoma).
She said that’s in line with what Harold LeMay, the family’s late patriarch, wanted. The family is known for setting the Guinness World Record for having the largest collection of antique and vintage automobiles in 1997, but Cofchin said the museum has had much more than cars through the years.
The Rodin statues emphasize that, she said.
“Harold’s goal was to preserve history, and he wanted something for everyone,” Cofchin said. “This really complements some of his dream, and that’s what we’re all about.”