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

Eve après le péché

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Eve après le péché
signed 'A.Rodin' (on the back of the base)
white marble
Height: 31 1/8 in. (79 cm.)
Conceived in 1880-1881; this marble version executed circa 1900-1915
Private collection, Switzerland; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 16 May 1979, lot 209.
Galerie Valentien, Stuttgart.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in December 1979.
J. Cladel, Auguste Rodin, L'oeuvre et l'homme, Brussels, 1908, p. 161 (another marble example illustrated p. 32).
C. Mauclair, Auguste Rodin, The Man, His Ideas, His Works, London, 1909, p. 12 (bronze version illustrated).
L. Bénédite, Rodin, Paris, 1924, pp. 26-27 (bronze version illustrated).
J. Cladel, Auguste Rodin, Sa vie glorieuse, sa vie inconnue, Paris, 1936, pp. 142-43.
G. Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1944, no. 59, p. 28 (bronze version illustrated).
P.L. Grigau, 'Rodin's Eve', in Bulletin of the Detroit Institute, 1953-1954, pp. 14-16 (bronze version illustrated).
A.E. Elsen, Rodin, New York, 1963, pp. 39, 49, 151, 192, 208 (bronze version illustrated).
B. Champigneulle, Rodin, London, 1967, p. 71 (bronze version illustrated pl. 23).
R. Descharnes & J.F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 160.
I. Jianou & C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 90 (plaster version illustrated pl. 17).
L. Goldscheider, Rodin Sculptures, London, 1970, no. 22 (bronze version illustrated).
J.L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, pp. 148-157 (another marble version illustrated fig. 8-6).
J. de Caso & P.B. Sanders, Rodin's Sculpture, A Critical Study of the Spreckels Collection, San Francisco, 1977 (plaster version illustrated p. 143).
Stuttgarter Nachrichten, 29 December 1979 (illustrated).
M. Hanotelle, Paris/Bruxelles, Rodin et Meunier, Paris, 1982, pp. 59 & 202.
H.H. Arnason, History of Modern Art, New York, 1986, no. 123 (another marble version illustrated p. 32).
N. Barbier, Marbres de Rodin: Collection du Musée, Paris, 1987, no. 85, p. 198 (another marble version illustrated p. 199).
A. Beausire, Quand Rodin exposait, Dijon, 1988, pp. 82, 95 & 315 (terracotta version illustrated p. 84).
D. Finn & M. Busco, Rodin and his Contemporaries: The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collection, New York, 1991, p. 42 (another marble version illustrated p. 43 and on the cover).
R. Butler, Rodin, The Shape of Genius, New Haven & London, 1993, p. 188.
I. Ross & A. Snow, eds., Rodin, A Magnificent Obsession, London, 2001, p. 121 (bronze version illustrated pl. 111).
R. Masson & V. Mattiussi, Rodin, Paris, 2004, p. 38 (bronze version illustrated p. 37).
A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. I, Paris, 2007, pp. 338-343 (bronze versions illustrated).
Stuttgart, Galerie Valentien, Bedeutende Skulpturen von: Ernst Barlach, Aristide Maillol, Auguste Rodin, Oskar Schlemmer, December 1979 (illustrated).
Sale room notice
Please note the additional provenance for this work:

Private collection, Switzerland; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 16 May 1979, lot 209.
Galerie Valentien, Stuttgart.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in December 1979.

Brought to you by

Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas

Lot Essay

The Comité Auguste Rodin under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay will include this work in their forthcoming Rodin Catalogue critique de l'oeuvre sculpté under the number 2013-4158B.

Even during Auguste Rodin's lifetime, Eve became one of his most celebrated compositions. Conceived around 1880-81, Eve après le péché is a marble example of this composition - indeed, it was in a group of several marbles of around the same dimensions as this work that the sculpture became best known, with prominent collections gaining examples even by the end of the Nineteenth Century.

Eve après le péché relates to several other sculptures by Rodin. It was initially conceived as a monumental work that would have flanked his celebrated Gates of Hell, with Adam accompanying her on the other side - the two original sinners and parents of mankind ushering the viewers through. Like many of the sculptural elements within the Gates of Hell, the figure of Eve became an independent work in its own right, and indeed was dropped from the larger tableau. One of the best-known versions of Eve was the large-scale work which related to the Gates of Hell; while that work in fact remained unfinished, Rodin would later return to the plaster in his studio and cast it, finding in it a beauty and power that had come of age as his own style had become more expressionistic. Meanwhile, smaller marble exemplars similar in composition to Eve après le péché had been created and seen by a number of people, garnering praise.

The fact that the monumental Eve remained unfinished was owed to the story behind its creation, which also resulted in Rodin's own satisfaction with the work. As he explained:

'I was working on my statue Eve, I saw my model changing without knowing the cause; I modified my profiles, naively following the successive transformation of forms that were growing steadily more ample. One day I learned that she was pregnant; then I understood everything. The contours of the belly had changed in a way that was hardly noticeable, but one can see with what sincerity I copied nature when one looks at the muscles of the loins and sides' (Rodin, quoted in F.V. Grunfeld, Rodin: A Biography, London, 1988, p. 193).

This state of imminent maternity was only too appropriate for the figure of the mother of all mankind. It added to the psychological veracity of the work as well. For Rodin, it was a stroke of chance - he would declare, 'A happy accident had brought her to me' (Rodin, quoted in ibid., p. 193). It is thought that the model in question soon departed, in part because her condition made sitting for the sculptor in the harsh conditions of his studio less and less comfortable, and also perhaps because she may have eloped with the father of her child, who may have been a Russian student of Rodin's (see ibid., p. 193). For the artist, this too was a happy accident, as it meant that the original sculpture retained a raw intensity that would later come to be the focus of much praise. Rodin said that the model for Eve was an Italian with 'the suppleness and grace of a panther' (ibid., p. 193). She has often been identified with one of the Abruzzesi sisters, Anna and Adèle, who posed for a number of works for him; most often, it is Adèle who is cited.

Eve après le péché and the other marble examples of the subject are not direct copies of the larger work, but instead reveal various changes as the scale shifted. Likewise, the base of Eve après le péché was a development that came about in versions that were already being created by the end of the 1890s, whereas the earliest had none of the rock-like support behind them. For Rodin, this change appears to be deliberate in terms of appearance as well as structural solidity, as it relates Eve après le péché more to the wax model of a slave by Michelangelo in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which inspired the sculptor so much that he declared that it should have a praying stool installed in front of it (see A. Le Normand-Romain, 'The Gates of Hell: The Crucible', pp. 55-63, in C. Lampert et al., Rodin, exh. cat., London, 2006, p. 58). This work can be sensed at the origin of a number of Rodin's compositions, especially in the twisting forms and raised arms of Eve and his later work, based on the researches for this sculpture, Meditation.

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