TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AFTER THE BOMB: MAINTAINING CLEVELAND'S THE THINKER
The history of The Thinker at the Cleveland Museum of Art is unique in relation to the other original casts supervised by Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) (see appendix). Shortly after the sculpture was acquired in 1917, the director of the museum sought advice about its maintenance outdoors from Frank Purdy of the Gorham Company. Purdy, a prominent expert, also gave advice to other museums and collectors during the early years of this century, so it is likely that many outdoor bronzes in this country received similar treatment. Then, in 1970, Cleveland's Thinker was blown up by radical protesters, one of the last acts of civil unrest that marked the turbulent 1960s.
The museum's records on The Thinker are of interest to conservators not only as they document early conservation practices for outdoor bronzes but also as they explore complex ethical and practical issues surrounding the treatment of damaged art.