Art Type
Media / Materials
Year Completed
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of John and Mary Pappajohn, 2015.23
Latitude & Longitude
Location Description
Along Grand Avenue; between 13th and 15th Streets

Post Balzac

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Made of cast bronze and stone, Judith Shea’s sculpture is 110 x 28-1/2 x 28-1/2 inches.

In addition to artist Judith Shea’s articulate comments — accessed from the audio link — an insight into this artwork is provided from examining “Study for Balzac’s Dressing Gown” by Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) in the Collection of the Musee Rodin in Paris, France. For his controversial “Monument to Balzac” (1891-98), Rodin made a study of the garment by draping it over a statue and daubing it with plaster to obtain the desired form. Rodin’s garment embodies a missing silhouette, incarnating the novelist Balzac’s strength and creative genius. Rodin’s dressing gown also alludes to one of the myths surrounding Balzac’s life: wakened in the night by sudden inspiration, the writer is said to have hastily thrown it on.