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Late art historian deserves mention for helping develop Rodin collection

I enjoyed reading Cynthia Haven's "Passion for Rodin" article (Feb. 18). All it lacked was any mention of the Stanford person most responsible for the outstanding Rodin collection that the current exhibition and the article celebrate. Stanford's late art history Professor Albert E. Elsen was the foremost Rodin scholar of his generation and the author of canonical books and articles about the great sculptor and his works. It was Elsen's stature and expertise that first attracted Bernie Cantor to Stanford, and it was Elsen's decades-long relationship with Cantor that produced the generous flow of gifts of Rodin works and documentation that Stanford now possesses. The Rodin Sculpture Garden was an Elsen project. Without the Elsen-Cantor relationship, Bernie and Iris Cantors' multimillion-dollar gift that anchored the museum's renovation and expansion (and renaming as the Cantor Center for Visual Arts) would never have been made. For a major exhibition of the Stanford Rodin collection to appear without prominent mention of Elsen's central role in its formation and growth would be inexplicable.

John Henry Merryman

Nelson Bowman Sweitzer and Marie B. Sweitzer Professor of Law, Emeritus

Affiliated Professor of Art, Emeritus