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Workers prepare to remove 'The Thinker' from its crate

A crew of six worked to reinstall 'The Thinker' in the Diekman Gallery at Cantor. (Photo by L.A. Cicero)

The Thinker, one of the most famous works of art in the world, comes home to Stanford's Cantor Arts Center

Auguste Rodin's The Thinker returns to the Stanford campus after a two-year loan to the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Steve Fyffe

The reinstallation involved hoisting the object by chains and suspending it from a rolling gantry.

BY ROBIN WANDER

Early Monday morning The Thinker resumed residency at Stanford. Returning to the Cantor Arts Center after a two-year sabbatical at the North Carolina Museum of Art, he hasn't aged a bit. Weighing in at approximately one ton and measuring more than 6 feet tall in a seated position, this iconic work by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin once again commands center stage in the Diekman Gallery.

Curator Bernard Barryte's thoughts on The Thinker? "It very quickly became an emblem around the world for rigorous intellectual pursuit. What better place to reside than a university identified with prodigious intellectual prowess and a legacy of scholarship?"

The Thinker first came to Stanford in 1988 and is a partial and promised gift to the Cantor Arts Center from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. It was on view in front of the Meyer library for many years and then in 2006 it was installed at the Cantor, where it sits in proximity to nearly 200 other works by Rodin – one of the largest collections of the artist's work on view outside of the Musée Rodin in Paris.

The reinstallation involved hoisting the object by chains and suspending it from a rolling gantry. The monumental bronze was then lowered by a crew of six onto a pedestal weighted with steel bars for ballast, and finally bolted into place.

A smaller, earlier version of The Thinker can be seen peering down from the top of The Gates of Hell in the Rodin sculpture garden on the south side of the Cantor. The Gates of Hell is considered the artist's greatest masterpiece, but The Thinker is one of the most famous sculptures of all time.

Media Contact

Anna Koster, Cantor Arts Center: (650) 725-4657, akoster@stanford.edu