Bust of Victor Hugo
In 1883 Rodin produced his first portrait of the writer Victor Hugo (1802–1885), whom the artist and his contemporaries glorified for his literary and political achievements. Over a four-month period Rodin produced numerous sketches used to create his sculpture, with no formal sittings by Hugo, because although he was invited into the writer’s home, Rodin could only observe him from afar. Despite these obstacles Rodin produced a powerful likeness of his illustrious sitter. He exhibited a bronze version of the portrait at the Salon of 1883, where it was critically acclaimed.