AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
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AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF HERBERT AND ADELE KLAPPER
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)

Eternel printemps, premier état, taille original - variante type C

Details
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
Eternel printemps, premier état, taille original - variante type C
signed and stamped with foundry mark ‘.A. Rodin MERONI RADICE PARIS CIRE PERDUE’ (on the right side)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 26 1⁄8 in. (66.5 cm.)
Conceived in 1884; this bronze version cast between 1921 and 1923
Provenance
Gabriel Séailles, Barbizon (by 1923).
Private collection, Paris (by descent from the above).
M. Cadeac d'Arbaud, Paris (acquired from the above, 1983).
Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 13 June 1986, lot 33.
Galerie Tanagra, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Private collection, United Kingdom (acquired from the above, 1986).
Susan Seidel, Inc., New York.
Acquired from the above by the late owners, June 1996.
Literature
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, no. 69 (another cast illustrated).
G. Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1944, p. 141 (another cast illustrated, pl. 56).
R. Descharnes and J.-F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Lausanne, 1967, p. 135 (another cast 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. 32-33 and 32-34).
A.E. Elsen, Rodin’s Art, The Rodin Collection of the Iris and 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).
Exhibited
New York, Beadleston Gallery, Inc., The Herbert J. & Adele Klapper Collection, May 2002, no. 13 (illustrated in color).
Post lot text
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 2018-5847B.

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Lot Essay

This sublimely romantic sculpture of two lovers embracing is among Rodin’s most popular, highly acclaimed works. The female figure is based on a torso that he modeled around 1882 of the model Adèle Abruzzesi, her arms raised and her back sensuously arched; two years later, he added a strapping male nude whose body responds to the ascending curve of the woman’s form, creating an unbridled, intensely erotic celebration of physical love. “Rodin explores the bodily expression of extreme emotional states,” Christopher Riopelle has written, “the audaciously outstretched arm of the man investing the sculpture with a sense that the force of emotion has propelled the lovers into a precarious, free-floating vortex of love and longing, beyond the constraints of the physical world” (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections, Philadelphia, 1995, p. 199).
The euphoric embrace of Eternel printemps reflects the emotional intensity of Rodin’s burgeoning affair with Camille Claudel, which induced the sculptor to abandon the politesse of allegorical convention and instead to depict romantic love in deeply intimate, personal terms. Rodin claimed that the idea for the sculptural group came to him while listening to Beethoven’s Second Symphony. “God, how [Beethoven] must have suffered to write that,” Rodin later mused. “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 A. Le Normand-Romain, op. cit., 2007, p. 335).
Although Rodin initially conceived Eternel printemps in connection with La porte de l’enfer, his monumental gateway inspired by Dante’s Inferno, the rapturous couple ultimately proved incongruous with the tragic tone of that project. Rodin instead developed the group as an independent sculpture, which he first cast in bronze in 1888 and exhibited publicly the next year at the Galerie Georges Petit.
In 1898, Rodin granted Leblanc-Barbedienne exclusive rights for twenty years to reproduce L’éternel printemps in bronze; they used as their model a marble version, in which a rocky support bolstered the extended left arm of the male figure and the base was enlarged so that the figure’s right foot would rest on the ground. It was not until the Barbedienne contract expired that the sculpture was again cast in its bolder original state, as seen in the present bronze. “In purely sculptural terms,” John Tancock has written, “the first version is superior to the second since the freely floating arm and leg give to it an élan that the second version does not have” (op. cit., 1976, p. 246).

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