Portrait of Madame Cruchet
Signed " A. Rodin" in pencil on the back
H.: 27 cm
Some scratches and wears
Provenance: Maurice Fenaille collection; by descent
This print was probably made by stamping between 1898 and 1900, the period during which Auguste Rodin made the bust portrait of his wife, Marie Fenaille, at the request of the collector and patron Maurice Fenaille (1855-1937). Rodin liked to give the women around him proofs of busts modelled in his youth, claiming that their features reminded him of the classical beauty of the subjects of his younger years. Kate S. Simpson, a collector and ardent supporter of Rodin in the USA, received a bust of the girl with a bow around her neck in 1905 (Today National Gallery, Washington - Inv. 1942.5.4), while Lady Sackville received a bust of a girl wearing a lilac headdress in 1913 (1871) on the grounds that she must have looked like her at the age of 18 (Today Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). The pencil signature on the back of the bust, which is rare on Rodin's sculptures, bears witness to the friendly, even intimate spirit of the gift to Mrs. Fenaille.
This work will be included in the archives of the Rodin Committee for the publication of the Critical Catalogue of the Sculpted Work of Auguste Rodin currently being prepared at the Brame & Lorenceau Gallery under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay under the number 2005-581B.
Like many artists, Auguste Rodin began by portraying his loved ones before becoming a great portrait painter recognized as early as the 1880s. If his first bust dated 1860 represents his father, he also models the features of people who come to his aid by way of recognition, as is the case of Doctor Thiriar or the entrepreneur and decorator Cruchet in whose workshop he works as a practitioner.
This charming little terracotta bust belongs to a series of several variants depicting the wife of this man who became one of the artist's first patrons. This portrait exalting feminine grace, made during the period when Rodin was working in Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse's workshop, bears witness to the influence of the great master whose busts in particular were a great success, representative of the taste of the Second Empire. In Rodin's early works, this influence of Carrier-Belleuse, described by Henry Nocq as "the imprint (that) persisted in spite of everything", is visible in both technique and style. In this bust we find the dexterity of the modelling of the material combined with the sense of the picturesque anecdote with the flower clasp adorning the hairstyle. This influence of the quarry-belleusian realism finds its paroxysm in the last portrait of Madame Cruchet realized later, in 1878, at a period when Rodin used his experience in the representation of charming portraits or fantasy busts (A.Rodin, Bacchante, circa 1874, terracotta, H. : 39,4 cm, signed A. Rodin, Bacchante, circa 1874, terracotta, H. : 39,4 cm, signed A. Rodin, Bacchante, circa 1874, terracotta, H. : 39,4 cm, signed A. Rodin). Rodin, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art ) Related
-Auguste Rodin, Madame Cruchet, 1868, tinted plaster, H.24,5 cm, n°inv; S00191
- Auguste Rodin, Madame Cruchet, terracotta, H.: 26.7 cm, San Francisco , California, Fine Arts museums of San Francisco, N°inv. 1933.12.22
Literature in relation
-Carrier-Belleuse Le Maître de Rodin, exhibition catalogue, Compiègne, Palais, 22 May - 27 October 2014 ", RMN, Paris, 2014, pp. 130-145;
-Hémène Marraud, " Dons, dédicaces, échanges : Rodin au coeur de son œuvre, pp. 252- 254, edited by Catherine chevillot and Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Rodin, le livre du centenaire, catalogue of the exhibition held in Paris, Grand Palais, 22 March-31 July 2017.
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