The Illinois State Museum’s Auguste Rodin sculpture is on loan to Maison Noilly Prat for an exhibition ‘A Rodin to Say Thank you’. The Noilly Prat distillery purchased the sculpture from the Rodin Museum as their gift to the Merci Train. It is now returned home for a brief visit to soak up some Mediterranean rays!
This sculpture was a gift to the people of the State of Illinois from the Merci Train, or French Gratitude Train, of 1949. The purpose of this gift was to acknowledge the more than $40 million in food and aid collected in 1947 by private citizens in the United States and sent to France and Italy after World War II. Many of the gifts were handmade, while others, like this sculpture from the celebrated artist Auguste Rodin, were reflective of the French cultural heritage.