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    Sale 1901

    Impressionist And Modern Art Day Sale

    7 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 348

    Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

    L'éternel Printemps

    Price Realised  


    Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
    L'éternel Printemps
    signed 'Rodin' (on the top of the base); inscribed with foundry mark 'F. BARBEDIENNE. FONDEUR. (on the left side of the base)
    bronze with brown and green patina
    Height: 15 in. (38.1 cm.)
    Conceived in 1886; this bronze version cast between 1898 and 1918

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    This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste Rodin catalogue critique de l'oeuvre sculpté currently being prepared by the Comité Rodin at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay under the archive number 2007V1254B.

    L'éternel Printemps was one of Rodin's most popular compositions and one of the sculptor's greatest commercial successes. Also entitled Zéphyr et la Terre and Cupidon et Psyché (there are small Cupid's wings on the back of the man), it was exhibited at the Salon of 1897. It was originally intended as a figural grouping for La porte de l'Enfer, but as the tone of the commission evolved into a more tragic representation, the amorous couple was not included in the final version. As with many of his great figural groupings, Rodin developed the characters from earlier works. The figure of the woman is based on Torse d'Adèle, which appears on the top left corner of the tympanum of La porte de l'Enfer.

    The dynamic arrangement of the bodies is characteristic of Rodin's innovative treatment of figures at this time. Animated by the dazzling play of light on the surface and the sweeping upward movement of the man, the couple seems ready to take flight. In fact, the man's back shows traces of wings that identify him as Cupid. The female figure is leaning against the tree-like formation behind her and Rodin deliberately preserves the enigma of whether or not she has indeed emerged from it. It is unsurprising that collectors throughout time have been attracted to the potent combination of physical lyricism and romanticism that defines this piece.


    Anon. sale, Sotheby & Co., London, 6 December 1973, lot 65.
    Stremmel Gallery, Reno, Nevada (acquired at the above sale).
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1980.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the correct height of this work is 15½ in. (39.5 cm.).


    G. Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1927, no. 69 (another cast illustrated, p. 42).
    I. Jianou and C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 96.
    R. Descharnes and J.-F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Lausanne, 1967, p. 96 (another cast illustrated, pls. 56-57).
    J.L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, pp. 241-247, no. 32b (another cast illustrated).
    A.E. Elsen, Rodin Rediscovered, Washington, 1981, p. 68 (large clay version illustrated, fig. 313).
    A.E. Elsen, Rodin's Art: The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, New York, 2003, pp. 494-497, no. 148 (another cast illustrated, pp. 494-495).