Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF NATHAN AND JOAN LIPSON Avid travelers, adventurers and philanthropists, Joan and Nathan Lipson lived life to the fullest and enjoyed making memories with their extended family and friends. Together, the Lipsons curated a beautiful and varied collection of Impressionist and Modern paintings by Auguste Rodin, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Lebasque and Raoul Dufy, which were artfully combined with important eighteenth-century French furniture and antiquities in their elegant Atlanta home. Nathan, originally from modest beginnings in Chicago, met and married Joan, from a sophisticated and cultured upbringing, after a four month courtship. On their honeymoon, they embarked upon their life of collecting developing their passions for art and fine furniture. While on business trips with Nathan as he built a global carpet manufacturing company, Joan further refined her knowledge and expertise for collecting fine objects. PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF NATHAN AND JOAN LIPSON
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

La coquille et la perle

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
La coquille et la perle
signed 'A. Rodin' (on the top of the base); inscribed with foundry mark 'ALEXIS. RUDIER FONDEUR. PARIS.' (on the back of the base); with raised signature 'A. Rodin' (on the underside)
bronze with green and brown patina
Height: 15 in. (38 cm.); Length: 25 5/8 (65 cm.); Width: 27 5/8 in. (70 cm.)
Conceived before 1896 and cast in July 1908; unique
Loïe Fuller, Paris (possibly acquired from the artist).
Alma de Bretteville-Spreckels, San Francisco (acquired from the above).
Nathan L. and Joan Lipson, Atlanta (April 1970).
By descent from the above to the present owners.
S. Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'école française au dix-neuvième siècle, Paris, 1921, vol. 4, p. 170 (marble version listed).
G. Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin: I. Hôtel Biron, Paris, 1944, p. 76, no. 217 (marble version illustrated, p. 75).
M. Aubert and C. Goldscheider, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1948, p. 17 (marble version listed).
I. Jianou and C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 102 (marble version listed).
N. Barbier, Marbres de Rodin: Collection du musée, Paris, 1987, p. 98, no. 38 (marble version illustrated, p. 99).

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Brooke Lampley
Brooke Lampley

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 2014-4332B.
This lifetime cast of La coquille et la perle is the sole bronze version that Rodin ever made of this sensuous female figure with quasi-acrobatic, intertwined limbs. The work is also known in a marble of approximately the same scale and in a slightly smaller plaster, both housed in the Musée Rodin, Paris. Rodin conceived the sculpture before 1896, when he combined it with a seated male figure to produce La sculpteur et sa muse (sale, Christie's, New York, 5 May 2005, lot 253). The plaster version was first exhibited publicly in 1899 under the title Sirène tenant les pieds, a reference to the seaside temptresses of Greek mythology who lured sailors to shipwreck with their enchanting song. The following year, the plaster model featured in Rodin's great retrospective at the Pavilion d'Alma in Paris, which conclusively established him as France's most innovative and important living sculptor.
In the bronze and marble versions of La coquille et la perle, both of which date to the first decade of the twentieth century, Rodin striated the gently undulating base like the inside of a seashell. The alluring nude, with her supple curves and slight sheen, is the pearl of the sculpture's now-canonical title, which Rodin inscribed on the marble. As so often in Rodin's work of the 1890s, however, the title is merely a pretext for the representation of provocatively free and abandoned movement, liberated from all artifice and convention, which the sculptor admired in modern dance and encouraged his models to explore in the studio.
How fitting, then, that the present bronze should first have belonged to Loïe Fuller, the great pioneer of modern dance. A veteran of the vaudeville stage in New York, Fuller moved in 1892 to Paris, where her "Serpentine Dance"–a mesmerizing combination of free-form choreography, swirling silk veils, and experimental colored lighting–became an overnight sensation at the Folies Bergère. Although Rodin had little interest in classical ballet ("too leaping, too fluttery," he complained), Fuller's explorations of the body's expressiveness were closely aligned with his own, and the two became lifelong friends. "We like Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, and Nijinsky so much," Rodin told Mallarmé, "because they have recovered freedom of instinct and rediscovered the meaning of a tradition based on a respect for nature" (quoted in R. Masson, Rodin, Paris, 2004, p. 176).
From Fuller, the present bronze passed into the hands of Alma de Bretteville-Spreckels, wife of San Francisco sugar magnate Adolph Spreckels and founder of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. During a trip to Paris in 1914, Mrs. de Bretteville-Spreckels met Fuller at the fashionable restaurant Ciro's. The dancer's colorful life enthralled the wealthy American socialite, and a bond of affectionate friendship grew between them. Fuller was delighted to encourage de Bretteville-Spreckel's own nascent artistic interests; the latter, with the aid of the dancer's contacts, soon amassed one of the most important art collections in America, including a group of more than seventy sculptures by Rodin.
View of Rodin exhibition at Pavilion d'Alma, Paris, 1900. The plaster version of the present sculpture is visible third from the right. Photograph by M. Bauche BARCODE: 28864202

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