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Rich History of a Sculpture in Centre Block

David Monaghan, Curator, Curatorial Services

Title: La France
Artist: Auguste Rodin

Located along the north corridor in Centre Block, near the intersection with the Hall of Honour, is one of the more unique and symbolic works of art in the heritage collection. The bronze bust of a woman is simply entitled La France.

The bust is a work produced by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), one of the most famous and influential French sculptors of the 19th and early 20th century. Rodin was the creator of such remarkable pieces as The Thinker, The Burghers of Calais, and Balzac.

Originally cast in 1904, this version of Rodin's La France was cast in 1921. The work was undertaken by the Government of France with the involvement of the Committee France-Amérique. It was presented to the Canadian government by the French Mission of Gratitude in Room 253-D Centre Block, on June 29, 1921. A document of the period stated that the purpose of the mission was to express to the Canadian nation France's deep gratitude for the heroic part played by our army and the Canadian people in the Great War.

Since its unveiling, the bust has remained on exhibit in the Centre Block. In 1998, the bust was placed on loan to the Musée du Québec for a major retrospective exhibition of works by Rodin.

Be sure to visit La France next time you are in the Centre Block.

Inscription: TO CANADA WHOSE SONS SHED THEIR BLOOD TO SAFEGUARD WORLD FREEDOM,
A GRATEFUL FRANCE 1914-1918.

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