Hartley Dodge Foundation Collections Curator Describes Her Discovery of Lost Masterpiece

Published on May 21, 2022

Mallory Mortillaro, curator of collections for the Hartley Dodge Foundation, is a Drew University graduate who identified and tracked down the provenance for Auguste Rodin’s 1910 marble sculpture Napoleon Enveloppe Dans Son Reve. The piece has been displayed in the Hartley Dodge Memorial for 75 years, but the sculptor was never identified. [Photo courtesy Camden public Library]

The Altadena Public Library will host Mallory Mortillaro, Curator of Collections for the Hartley Dodge Foundation in Madison, New Jersey, in a virtual lecture on Thursday, May 24, where she tells the story of her discovering a masterpiece that had been lost to the art world since the 1930s.


Mortillaro was an art student and was cataloging the artwork housed inside of the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building in Madison when she uncovered a marble piece that she later identified and authenticated as a sculpture of Napoleon Bonaparte by renowned French sculptor Auguste Rodin. 


The sculpture turned out to be “Napoleon Enveloppe dans Ses Reves (Napoleon Wrapped in His Dreams),” a Rodin original. Auguste Rodin was the creator of the iconic “The Thinker,” “The Kiss,” and “The Burghers of Calais.” The discovery and authentication was announced in 2017. 


At the virtual event on Tuesday, Mortillaro will discuss her role as an archivist for the Hartley Dodge Foundation and the lengthy research process that led to the marble bust being authenticated as a genuine Rodin, and later loaned to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the largest museums in the country. 


Mortillaro holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Drew University. She balances her work as an Art Historian with teaching seventh grade English. She lives in Whippany, New Jersey, with her husband. 


Attendance at the virtual event is free. The lecture begins at 4 p.m. 


To register, visit https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtfu6oqzkuGdJSmYxLZdb5QS-M1GwR8MOi


For more information, call (626) 798-0833 or visit www.altadenalibrary.org/programs/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D158290954

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