For some 80 years, the bust was positioned on a pedestal, providing a casual leaning post during meetings. Photo Courtesy of the Comite Auguste Rodin
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Napoleon Bonaparte and Auguste Rodin are both household names in their own right, but a bust of the French emperor created by the master sculptor faded into oblivion in an American town, only to be discovered by chance. The white marble statue was certainly visible in the meeting room of the borough hall of Madison – a New Jersey municipality of 16,000 .Thomas Fortune Ryan, a friend of the collector, then bought the piece during a visit to the Paris suburb of Meudon in 1909 . Once he died, the bust was lost following a 1933 estate auction.It is thought Rodin took inspiration from Napoleon's death mask to create the bust, as well as working with a look-alike as he did when creating his "Monument to Balzac".
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