Laguna Beach will be the first Orange County city to get a glimpse of a rare collection of works by Auguste Rodin.

The exhibition opening Monday at the Laguna College of Art & Design celebrates the school's 50th year. Works are from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection, the world's largest private collection of Rodin works.

The French sculptor is most widely known for "The Thinker" and "The Kiss."

"He's considered one of the greatest sculptors since Michelangelo," LCAD President Jonathan Burke said.

LCAD is showing two groups from the collection, "Figures" and "The Lost Wax Casting Process." The former is a group of 13 bronze figures; the latter, a 10-piece display showing the process of creating the sculpture "Sorrow" from clay to bronze. The final sculpture will be there as well.

"The actual sculpting of the figure is only one quarter of the process," he said.

The pieces allow the public to see the complicated sculpting process.

Burke said the opportunity will allow students to see Rodin's vision, the way he viewed the figure and how artistic movements, such as Impressionism, influenced him.

Ryan Fisher, an Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation trustee and Laguna Beach resident, is excited the foundation was able to bring the show to the school.

"Rodin always had students coming from all over the world to study him and his techniques," Fisher said. "By bringing it to the school and influencing the next generation of artists, you have the biggest impact."

LCAD students will also benefit from getting an up-close view of the famous sculptures because they are one of three art schools in the country to have a focus on representational/figurative art.

The other two are Lyme Academy College of Fine Art in Lyme, Conn., and the Academy of Art in New York.

"So many of the U.S. art programs are being shut down," Fisher said. "Here in Laguna we have an art school right in the canyon. That's exciting."

Iris Cantor's mission, Fisher said, is to allow the public access to fine art. The foundation has more than 750 large sculptures and paintings, 100 of which are part of the traveling exhibition that will be at LCAD.

"It's such a leap of faith and so significant that they've allowed the college to take a part of their Rodin exhibit," Burke said. "We're so appreciative and really want the public to enjoy it."

The exhibit runs through Sept. 23. Admission and parking at LCAD are free. The college gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 2222 Laguna Canyon Road. Saturdays are by appointment only.

For more information, visit lagunacollege.edu.