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

Eternel printemps, second état, 2ème réduction dite aussi "taille no 4"

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Eternel printemps, second état, 2ème réduction dite aussi "taille no 4"
signed 'Rodin' (on the back); inscribed with foundry mark 'F. BARBEDIENNE FONDEUR' (on the left side of the rock)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 20 ½ in. (52 cm.)
Length: 26 ½ in. (67 cm.)
Conceived in 1884; this bronze version cast in 1910-1918
Galerie Zborowski, Paris.
Galerie M. Bousso, Paris.
Allan Frumkin Gallery, New York (acquired from the above, August 1966).
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 13 May 1977, lot 605.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
L. Maillard, Auguste Rodin, Statuaire, Paris, 1899, pp. 121-122 (marble version illustrated, fig. 16).
G. Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1927, p. 42, nos. 69-70 (plaster and another version illustrated).
G. Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1947, p. 141 (another version illustrated, pl. 56).
R. Descharnes and J.-F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, London, 1967, p. 135 (larger version illustrated in color, p. 134).
I. Jianou and C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 96 (another cast illustrated, pls. 56-57).
L. Steinberg, Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art, Oxford, 1972, p. 428, no. 232 (marble version illustrated, p. 365).
J.L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The Collection of the Rodin Museum Philadelphia, Philadelphia, 1976, pp. 241, 244-245 and 247, no. 32b (other versions illustrated, pp. 242-243 and 246, figs. 32-3 and 32-4).
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, fig. 413 and larger version illustrated, p. 496, fig. 414).
A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin: Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007, vol. I, pp. 334-337 (another cast illustrated, p. 334; terracotta version illustrated, p. 334; other versions illustrated, p. 336 and marble version illustrated, p. 337).
A. Le Normand-Romain, Rodin, New York, 2013, p. 146 (plaster version illustrated, p. 147, fig. 139).

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Sarah El-Tamer
Sarah El-Tamer

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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 2019-5965B.

L’éternel printemps is one of Rodin's most popular compositions and one of the sculptor's greatest commercial successes. Also titled Zéphyr et la Terre and Cupidon et Psyché (there are small Cupid's wings on the back of the male figure), 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 female figure is based on Torse d'Adèle, which appears on the top left corner of the tympanum of La porte de l'enfer.
The present work may reflect the emotional impact of Rodin's personal life, as he sculpted the blissful embrace while involved in an affair with the beautiful sculptor, Camille Claudel, who had entered his studio as a pupil the previous year. This new wellspring of romantic passion may have further induced Rodin to abandon the politesse of allegorical convention and instead depict romantic love in deeply intimate, individual terms. Rodin also claimed that the idea for the present bronze came to him while listening to Beethoven's sublime Second Symphony. He confided much later to Jeanne Russell, the daughter of the Australian painter John Russell: "God, how [Beethoven] must have suffered to write that! And yet, it was while listening to it for the first time that I pictured Eternal Springtime, just as I have modeled it since" (quoted in The Bronzes of Rodin, exh. cat., Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007, p. 336).
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. The dynamic arrangement of the bodies is characteristic of Rodin's innovative treatment of figures at this time. 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 have always been attracted to the potent combination of physical lyricism and romanticism that defines this work.

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