A sufficient apology for the following book exists in the unique position occupied by Auguste Rodin to-day, not only among the sculptors of his own country, but in other lands on both sides of the Atlantic. Without attempting to establish any exact and definite precedence for his achievement over that of all others, it may be safely asserted that his name will rank in the future among the foremost of the great masters of the statuary art. Eminence in foreigners England has always been quick to recognise, and Rodin's election to the Presidency of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters, and Gravers, in the place of Whistler, did no more than give an official character to the esteem in which he has long been held in our country.
To write a life of Rodin, in the usual acceptation of the word, is almost an impossibility. The record is rather that of an immense labour in which all else has been merged. Indeed, to such an extent intellectually has he lived in his art and for his art that, whereas other men's memories are filled with anecdotes of the past that enable the hearer to reconstruct whole periods of personal history, Rodin's reminiscences seldom arouse but to the touch of some chord connected with his work, or, if they are awaked by accident, he regards them with indifference. Indeed, when speaking of himself, as he is forced to do in relating the creation of his pieces of sculpture and the struggles that have been waged round them, there is an absence of egoism and a curious identification of his personality with his productions that are very remarkable.