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Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 2… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

Age d'airain, moyen modèle

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Age d'airain, moyen modèle
signed 'Rodin' (on the top of the base); with the raised signature 'A.Rodin' (on the inside); inscribed with the foundry mark 'Georges Rudier.Fondeur.Paris' (on the back of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 41 in. (104 cm.)
Originally conceived in 1875-1876 and in this reduced size in 1903-1904; this work cast in July 1953
Musée Rodin, Paris.
Acquired from the above in May 1954, and thence by descent to the present owner.
F. Lawton, The Life and Work of Auguste Rodin, London, 1906, p. 44.
J. Cladel, Auguste Rodin, L'homme et oeuvre, Paris, 1908.
F. Dujardin-Beaumetz, Entretiens avec Rodin, Paris, 1915.
L. Bénédite, Rodin, Paris, 1915.
G. Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1929, no. 18, pp. 30-31 (the large version illustrated).
C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1962, pp. 54-55 (other casts illustrated).
A.E. Elsen, Rodin, New York, 1963, p. 20 (the large version illustrated).
H. Read, Geschichte der modernen Plastik, Munich, 1966, p. 12, pl. 2 (another cast illustrated).
B. Champigneulle, Rodin, London, 1967, no. 12, p. 51 (another cast illustrated).
I. Jianou & C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 85, pls. 6-7 (other casts illustrated).
R. Descharnes & J.F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 53 (the large version illustrated).
C. Goldscheider, Rodin Sculptures, London, 1970, pls. 4 & 5 (another cast illustrated).
A.E. Elsen, Rodin, London, 1974, pp. 21-25 (another cast illustrated p. 20).
J.L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, no. 64, pp. 343-345 (other casts illustrated).
A.E. Elsen, In Rodin's Studio, New York, 1980 (plaster casts illustrated figs. 2 & 5).
C. Goldscheider, Auguste Rodin, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre sculpté, vol. I, Paris, 1989, no. 95, pp. 114-117 (another cast illustrated).
A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. I, Paris, 2007, p. 123 (another cast illustrated).
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

Brought to you by

Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Rodin catalogue critique de l'oeuvre sculpté currently being prepared by the Comité Auguste Rodin at Galerie Brame et Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay under the archive number 2006-988B.

L'âge d'airain is widely considered to be Auguste Rodin's first great masterpiece, ranking alongside later works such as the Porte de l'Enfer, Le Penseur and Le baiser. It was originally conceived in 1875-1876 and was first exhibited in bronze and in plaster in 1877, to great scandal: the new scrutiny of reality that he brought to the field of sculpture was so extreme, the sense of modelling so observed, that he was accused of casting a live person. His anticipated breakthrough was to some extent delayed by these accusations, despite his submitting photographs of his model, the young soldier Auguste Neyt, as proof of his own work.

Rodin had originally hoped that exhibiting L'âge d'airain might lead to a commission from the French state. He was first disappointed, yet three years later, encouraged by a letter of support from a group of fellow sculptors who appreciated the importance of Rodin's work, Edmond Turquet acquired the plaster and requested a bronze cast. It was Turquet, in his authority as Undersecretary of State for Fine Arts, who then commissioned the Porte de l'Enfer, marking a new chapter in the sculptor's career and forging his reputation as the most prominent sculptor of his generation.

The moyen modèle of L'âge d'airain was conceived in 1903-1904. It is thought that Rodin cast three bronzes at the Alexis Rudier foundry between 1913 and 1917. Subsequently, the Musée Rodin cast seven examples with Alexis Rudier between 1927 and 1945 and nine at the Georges Rudier foundry between 1953 and 1971, of which this is one of the earliest produced.

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