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

Éternel Printemps, second état, 4ème réduction dite aussi "no. 2"

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Éternel Printemps, second état, 4ème réduction dite aussi "no. 2"
signed 'Rodin' (on the back), stamped with the foundry mark 'F. BARBEDIENNE. FONDEUR' (on the left side) and inscribed '5 T ' (on the underside)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 9 ¾ in. (24.7 cm.)
Width: 12 1/8 in. (30.8 cm.)
Depth: 7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm.)
Conceived in 1884, this reduction in 1898, and cast between 1898 and 1918 in an edition of between 63 and 69 examples; this example cast between 1900 and 1905
Daniel Vincent, Le Quesnoy, a gift from the Ecoles Primaires Supérieures de France, circa 1918-1927.
Private collection, by descent from the above; sale, Sotheby's, London, 6 February 2014, lot 219.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
L. Maillard, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1899. no. 16 (another version illustrated).
G. Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1944, no. 113 (another cast illustrated).
B. Champigneulle, Rodin, Paris, 1967, no. 34 (another version illustrated).
R. Descharnes & J.-F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, London, 1967, p. 134 (another cast illustrated).
I. Jianou & C. Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, pl. 56-57 (another cast illustrated).
J. L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, nos. 32a, 32b, 32-4 (other casts illustrated pp. 242, 243, 246).
A. E. Elsen, Rodin Rediscovered, Washington D.C., 1981, fig. 3.13 (another version illustrated).
D. Finn & M. Busco, Rodin and His Contemporaries: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection, New York, 1991 (another cast illustrated).
A. E. Elsen, Rodin's Art, New York, 2003, no. 413 (other casts illustrated pp. 494, 495, 496).
A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. I, Paris, 2007, no. S. 777, p. 334 (other casts illustrated).
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Ottavia Marchitelli
Ottavia Marchitelli

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Auguste Rodin catalogue critique de l'œuvre 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 2013-4277B.

L'éternel printemps was one of Rodin's most popular compositions and greatest commercial successes. Originally conceived as a figural grouping for La porte de l'enfer, an element intended to highlight ‘all the stages of love’, the joyous couple ultimately proved incongruous with the tragic tone of the larger composition and was not included in the final version (A.E. Elsen, Rodin Rediscovered, Washington, D.C., 1981, p. 494).
The present work may also 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’ (Rodin quoted in The Bronzes of Rodin, Paris, 2007, p. 336). However, Rodin, having already experienced how artistic fidelity to the natural contours of the human body without reference to a readily identifiable subject greatly shocked contemporary critics, named the work Zéphyr et la terre and then exhibited the sculpture as Cupidon et Psyché in the Paris Salon of 1897 (small vestiges of Cupid's wings on the back of the male figure attest to this short-lived name). Finally loosened from mythological narrative, the work appeared under its present title at an exhibition in 1900.

The present example, cast between 1900 and 1905, during the artist's lifetime, was given as a gift to Daniel Vincent by the Ecoles Primaires Supérieures de France. A well-known teacher and politician, he served as Minister of Labor in 1921–1922 when he introduced France's first social insurance bill. He also served in various cabinets as Minister of Education, Minister of Commerce and Minister of Public Works, becoming Minister of Education and Fine Arts in the cabinet of Paul Painlevé in 1917.

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