Built in 1961 by the architect Henri Gautruche to mark the hundredth anniversary of Bourdelle’s birth, the Great Hall is large enough to house his monumental plaster casts. The whiteness and clarity of this “modern temple” highlight one of the master’s sources, namely ancient Greece, its heroes and its gods, sculpted with all the power of his inspiration: Tête d’Apollon (Head of Apollo) (1898-1909), Héraklès archer (Hercules the Archer) (1910), Pénélope (Penelope) (1905-1912), Centaure mourant (Dying Centaur) (1911-1914) and Sapho (Sappho) (1889-1925).

Unlike the bronze casts, which are displayed as finished works, the plaster casts reveal a little of the sculptor’s creative process, with their marks and interlocking parts. This is an art of scale: from the frieze of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Champs-Elysées Theatre) (1910-1913) to the La Vierge à l’offrande (The Virgin of the Offering) (1919-1922), from La France (France) (1922-1925) to the Monument au général Alvéar (Monument to General Alvear) (1913-1923), everything exalts the power “of the artist who conceives everything as a monument. There is nothing more beautiful than the energy of the builder”. (André Suarès)