Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

Faune et faunesse dit aussi "Vieux Chêne"

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Faune et faunesse dit aussi "Vieux Chêne"
signed, numbered, inscribed with foundry mark and dedicated 'A. Rodin 5/8 Georges Rudier. Fondeur. Paris. À MON AMI DESCHAMP' (on the back)
bronze with black and green patina
Height: 15¼ in. (38.7 cm.)
Conceived circa 1885; this bronze version cast in 1986
Family of L©on Deschamps, Paris (1986).
Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 19 June 1998, lot 89.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 18 November 1998, lot 484.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 11 November 1999, lot 203.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007, vol. II, p. 708, no. S. 2892 (another cast illustrated; titled Le vieil arbre).

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste 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 2011-3686B.

When Faune et faunesse dit aussi "Vieux Chêne" was created, it was a great success, particularly among the Symbolist circle. Both Gustave Coquiot of La Plume and Félicien Fagus of La revue blanche extolled "this utterly and masterfully Symbolist work" (F. Fagus, Salon de La Plume, Paris, 15 July 1900, p. 465) while Rodin's longtime supporter Gustave Geffroy praised it as one of the artist's most accomplished pieces. Based in pagan mythology, the work combines elements from two prior sculptures. Rodin transforms his earlier Mercury from the La porte de l'Enfer into a hybrid faun-plant creature that is "at once man, animal and plant, hairy, furrowed, branchy, leafy." Meanwhile, the female figure, a "familiar small laughing woodland divinity," is a transfiguration of his earlier Petite faunesse (G. Geffroy, Rodin, Art et décoration, Paris, 1900, p. 108). The resulting work crafts a transcendent statement about the triumph of nature. The plaster for this bronze was given by Rodin to his friend Léon Deschamp, a journalist and editor of La Plume. The plaster remained with the family, and in 1986, with the approval of the musée Rodin, an edition of 12 casts were produced with Georges Rudier.

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