AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
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AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
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AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)

Eternel printemps, second état, troisième réduction

AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
Eternel printemps, second état, troisième réduction
signed 'Rodin' (to the top right of the rock); inscribed with foundry mark 'F. BARBEDIENNE. Fondeur.' (on the left side of the rock); inscribed 'VL' (to the interior)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm.)
Conceived in 1884; this reduction in 1898; this bronze version cast between 1905 and 1910
Acquired by the present owner, by circa 2005.

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 2022-6689B .
G. Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1927, no. 69 (another cast illustrated, p. 42).
R. Descharnes and J.F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Lausanne, 1967, pp. 133-135 (another version illustrated, p. 134).
I. Jianou and C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 96 (another cast illustrated, pls. 56-57).
J.L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The Collection of the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, 1976, pp. 241-247, no. 32b (another cast illustrated).
A.E. Elsen, Rodin Rediscovered, Washington, 1981, p. 68 (larger clay version illustrated, fig. 313).
A.E. Elsen, Rodin's Art: The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University, New York, 2003, pp. 494-497, no. 148 (another cast illustrated, pp. 494-495).
A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin: Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007, vol. I, p. 334 (another cast illustrated, pp. 331-336; marble version illustrated, p. 337).

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.
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 have always been attracted to the potent combination of physical lyricism and romanticism that defines this work.

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