Lot 543

Auguste RODIN (1840-1917). The Succubus (A female seductive demon) - circa 1889/1891. Bronze sculpture with a richly shaded green patina. Alexis Rudier foundryman in Paris. Signed on the terrace. Stamped "A. Rodin" inside. H: 23.1; W: 16.2 cm. This kneeling female figure whose treatment is fully "Rodinian" is a representation of temptation as underlined by the first criticism we know of it by Gustave Geffroy during his exhibition at the Galerie Georges Petit in 1889: "a woman with a lioness's mane, on her knees, leaning on her hands, dragging and meowing like a cat, a dream face raised towards the sky". This subject also appears in a painting by Édouard Munch in Mermaid of 1896, kept at the Philadelphia Museum. The Succubus, or the Sphinx, as it seems to have been his first title, is a work of Symbolist inspiration, which shows Rodin's permeability to the aesthetic and artistic currents of his time. Perhaps, in addition to its sensual character, this is one of the reasons for its immediate success at the end of the 19th century, since in the 1890s Rodin had five proofs of it melted down. Others followed in the first decade of the twentieth century, hardly identifiable in the accounts of the artist and foundrymen due to fluctuations in titles (The Sphinx or Kneeling Woman). There are also a few plaster casts autographed and given by Rodin in the 1890s to amateurs. In addition to the period bronzes (about a dozen proofs), there are posthumous castings by Alexis Rudier made by the museum from the 1920s onwards, at least two of which are listed. And the edition is late in coming to a close with 10 copies cast for the museum by Georges Rudier between 1966 and 1977. Our copy, which is part of the period edition during Rodin's lifetime, is one of the most beautiful with the green patina that the artist was fond of at the beginning of the 20th century and which Alexis Rudier, the sculptor's favourite foundryman, mastered perfectly around 1900-1910.