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RUDOLF (RIDOLFO) SCHADOW (1786-1822), ROME, 1814
RUDOLF (RIDOLFO) SCHADOW (1786-1822), ROME, 1814
RUDOLF (RIDOLFO) SCHADOW (1786-1822), ROME, 1814
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RUDOLF (RIDOLFO) SCHADOW (1786-1822), ROME, 1814
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RUDOLF (RIDOLFO) SCHADOW (1786-1822), ROME, 1814


RUDOLF (RIDOLFO) SCHADOW (1786-1822), ROME, 1814
Signed and dated RUD: SCHADOW FEC: ROMAE / ANNO 1814.
50 in. (127 cm.) high
Private collection, New York, where acquired by the present owner, New York, in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
D.C. Johnson, ‘Rudolf Schadows Sandalbinderin in Rom und Amerika,’ Forschungen und Berichte, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 1983, XXIII, pp. 113-122.
G. Eckardt, Ridolfo Schadow: Ein Bildhauer in Rom zwischen Klassizismus und Romantik, Cologne, 2000, pp. 30-31 and 82-86.

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Lot Essay

Schadow was one of the most talented and original 19th century sculptors and The Sandal Binder was one of his most iconic compositions. It is a brilliantly-carved and conceived example of Northern neoclassicism, cool and emotionally restrained, The Sandal Binder is, at the same time, an incredibly intimate and sensitive portrait of a young girl. Until now, there were thought to be only four life-sized versions. The appearance of this sculpture is both exciting and significant as this version, signed and dated 1814, is, almost certainly, Schadow’s original version.
Schadow, the son of a famous sculptor and the brother of a famous painter, was raised in an intensely artistic and sophisticated milieu. His father, Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850), after studying in Italy, was named Court Sculptor to the Prussian court at Berlin in 1788 and Secretary of the Prussian Academy of Art. For the next sixty years he produced hundreds of royal, ecclesiastical and public sculptural commissions, including the iconic Quadriga atop Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. Ridolfo Schadow’s sculpture, like his father’s, was formed by Italy and the staggering treasures of Greek and Roman Sculpture on view – as well as the lively Grand Tourist trade which brought Europe’s most important living sculptors to the Eternal City.
As stated, there are four other known life-size versions of Schadow’s Sandal Binder. There is also a plaster model, location unknown, which Eckardt dates to 1813/1814 (Eckardt, op. cit., pp. 82-86).
The first, not signed or dated, is described by Eckardt as possibly the original version, was bought by John Izard Middleton, who was in Rome in 1820 and it is documented at the Middleton Place plantation, South Carolina, by 1840 where it remains to this day (courtesy of the Middleton Place Foundation Archives). This version has, sadly, suffered considerable damage as it has been displayed outside for many years and was buried, to hide it from Union troops, at the end of the Civil War when they marched on Charleston and Middleton Place, together with its collections and library, was burned to the ground.
The second, signed Rudolph Schadow / fec: Romae. 1817, was seen by Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria during his trip to Rome and was purchased and delivered to the Munich Glyptothek by 1819 and is now in the Neue Pinakothek (WAF B 24).
The third, signed Rudolph Schadow fecit. / Romae 1819 pro Henrico Patten / Westport Hibernia., was commissioned, along with Schadow’s Spinner (sold Sotheby’s, London, 8 July, 2010, lot 122), for Patten’s County Mayo estate and, eventually, ended up in an American private collection and was sold, Sotheby’s, London, 12 June 1986, lot 201W. It then went to the Galerie Westphal, Berlin and, finally, a private collection, Hamburg.
The fourth, signed Rudolph Schadow: / fecit Romae. 1820, was bought by King Frederick William III of Prussia and installed in the Gelben Marmorsaal of the Berlin Schloss by 1824. It is now owned by the Stiftung Preußishe Schlösser und Gärten and is on loan to the Friedrichswerderschen Kirche, Berlin (Skulpturensammlung 2822).
It is clear that Schadow was immensely proud of his marble. The Sandal Binder is prominently depicted in a fascinating group portrait by Schadow’s brother Wilhelm and now in Berlin’s Nationalgalerie. The sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen is flanked, on the right, by a self-portrait of Wilhelm with his painter’s palette and, on the left, by his brother Ridolfo holding his chisel and with his Sandal Binder prominently displayed behind him. Thorvaldsen, a Dane who spent most of his working life in Rome, was, along with Antonio Canova, the most celebrated sculptor in Europe and, like Canova, helped popularize this severe, cerebral neoclassicism in late 18th and 19th century sculpture. The painting, dated 1815/1816, very likely depicts the present version of The Sandal Binder as the present version is the only one which can be definitively dated to before the picture was painted. As has been mentioned, the Middleton Place version, previously thought to be the original version, is neither signed nor dated. And it is also very unlikely that the Middleton Place version would have remained in Schadow’s studio from 1814 until 1820 when it was purchased by Middleton. With collectors and courts clamoring for a version of The Sandal Binder, would Schadow really have left his first internationally acclaimed masterpiece sitting in his studio and unsold for six years?
Intriguingly, there is a drawing of The Sandal Binder by Ferdinand Ruscheweyh, a German contemporary of Schadow’s who had visited his Roman studio, been impressed by The Sandal Binder and recorded it. The drawing is inscribed by Ruscheweyh: Rudolf Schadow in Marmore fecit Romae 1814 (Berlin Kupferstichkabinett, and illustrated in Eckardt, p. 83). Not only is this inscription almost identical to the inscription of the present marble but, as the Middleton Place version has no inscription and the inscriptions on the other three versions do not match at all and are considerably later, it seems likely that Ruscheweyh’s drawings depicts the present version.
The Sandal Binder was probably not a specific commission but an original composition inspired by Schadow’s studies of Antiquity and life in Rome. So it is interesting to speculate on the origins of this present version. Of the other versions: one was purchased for the grandest plantation in North America, another commissioned for an important collection in Ireland and the two others were purchased by the kings of Bavaria and Prussia. Who could have visited Schadow’s Roman studio first, before these other aristocrats and royals, and fallen in love with this Sandal Binder?

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