In the summer of 1891, Rodin was commissioned by the Société des Gens de Lettres to create a monument to Balzac. As Balzac had been dead for decades, and only one photo of him is known to exist, Rodin read all of the author’s novels to try and comprehend his character, and did sittings from Balzac’s countrymen in the Touraine region. Ultimately he created more than fifty studies. While the commission was scheduled to last eighteen months, Rodin worked on it for years. By 1898, Rodin had finally honed his vision, and submitted a plaster maquette, or model, showing the figure wrapped in a voluminous dressing gown. Both the Société and the city of Paris rejected this version, and withdrew the commission. The larger-than-life figure was only cast in bronze after Rodin’s death.