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Lot 202: Auguste Rodin, Le Minotaure, version à base carrée (Faune et Nymphe), Circa 1883-1885/1903
December 2, 2016
Cologne, GermanyLive Auction
Description: Signed 'A. Rodin' on the base to the right and with the cast number. With the foundry annotation "Susse Fondeur Paris" and the circular foundry mark "Susse/F.P." (joined signet) on the edge of the back side.Susse Fondeur Paris (cast 2013). Cast E.A. IV/IV.With an expertise by the Comité Auguste Rodin, Francois Lorenceau and Jérome Le Blay, Paris, dated 21 January 2014. The work is registered and will be included in the Catalogue Critique de l'Oeuvre Sculpté d'Auguste Rodin of the Comité Auguste Rodin by Jérôme Le Blay, Galerie Brame & Lorenceau, currently under preparation under the no. 2013-4280B.It is well known that Rodin experimented with the titles given to his sculptures. They are to be understood in freely associative terms, and they played a largely subordinate role for him as an artist and creative demiurge. However, they were indubitably important for the works' reception in Rodin's own time. Thus, looking back from today, they result in the phenomena of the gaze being linked to elements typical of that period as well as others which were already historical at that time; these links cannot be understood without the French 18th century (Clodion), the “fin de siècle” or Symbolism. Rodin sought inspiration in a poetic manner. In the present case, sources of a literary nature are to be assumed on the basis of the titles given to the work - for example, the mythological “Metamorphoses” of Ovid, which Rodin read (just as he admired Baudelaire and Dante). Stéphane Mallarmé's “L'Après-midi d'un faune” (1875) may also have provided the impulse behind the work. A plaster cast of the smaller first version of “Le Minotaure”, which was also realised in bronze (33cm in height), was dedicated by Rodin to Mallarmé - like other prominent figures of his time. If we call to mind the degree to which fauns and satyrs dominated the narrative visual worlds - including the “kitsch” - of the second half of the 19th century and still continued to do so at the turn of the century, we may nonetheless be able to sense the level of shock involved in the direct encounter with Rodin's erotic image. It was undoubtedly a tremendous and unsettling provocation: “Rodin semblait s'amuser de mon étonnement silencieux”, writes Paul Gsell. “En somme, me dit-il, l'on ne doit pas attribuer trop d'importance aux thèmes que l'on interprète. Sans doute, ils ont leur prix et contribuent à charmer le public; mais le principal souci de l'artiste doit être de façonner des musculatures vivantes. Le reste importe peu. Puis, tout à coup, comme s'il devinait mon désarroi: - Ne croyez pas, mon cher Gsell, que mes dernières paroles contredisent celles que j'ai prononcées auparavant.Si je juge qu'un statuaire peut se borner à représenter de la chair qui palpite, sans se préoccuper d'aucun sujet, cela ne signifie pas que j'exclue la pensée de son travail; si je déclare qu'il peut se passer de chercher des symboles, cela ne signifie pas que je sois partisan d'un art dépourvu de sens spirituel. Mais, à vrai dire, tout est idée, tout est symbole.” (Paul Gsell, Auguste Rodin, L'Art: Entretiens réunis, Paris (1911), 1924, pp. 214, 217). Using his characteristic technique of assemblage - his experimentation with his own pre-existing pieces - Rodin developed “Le Minotaure” into the group “Pygmalion and Galatea”, among others. No less a figure than Karl Ernst Osthaus commissioned Rodin to provide an enlarged marble version of this erotic group for the Folkwang Museum in Hagen, which was delivered in 1904 (A. Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, op. cit., vol. II, Paris 2007, p. 524). He purchased it under the title based on Ovid, “Jupiter toreau”, which it still bore at that time. Along with the “Age of Bronze” and “Eve”, two bronzes representative of the sculptor's work and purchased for the museum by Osthaus, “only a marble came under consideration. The selection among the works under way was not large; most of them had already been promised to admirers. I finally chose the e
Condition Report: With even, dark brown patina with a greenish tinge.
Notes: VAT: Margin scheme
Provenance: Private possession, France
Dimensions: 58 x 62 x 63.5 cm
Artist or Maker: Auguste Rodin
Literature: i.a.: Robert Descharnes, Auguste Rodin, Lausanne/Paris 1967, p. 137 with illus. (plaster, small version); Herta Hesse-Frielinghaus (ed.), Karl Ernst Osthaus.Leben und Werk, Recklinghausen 1971, pp. 176 f.; Museum Folkwang, Essen (ed.), Katalog der Bildwerke, Essen n.y. (1973), no. P 59 with illus. (marble), pp. 101/102 with additional literature; John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin. The Collection of the Rodin Museum Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art 1976, cf. cat. no. 41, in particular p. 273 "Related Work"; Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of works in the Musée Rodin vol. II, Paris 2007, pp. 523 ff., in particular p. 524 "Related works";
Medium: Bronze after the marble version from 1903
Date: Circa, 1883-1885/1903