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Iris, messagère des dieux
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About the item

Cast between 1902 and 1905, the present example of Rodin's Iris, Messagère des dieux is one of only seven known life-time casts of this magnificent work. Suspended in mid-air, this image of the female body is one of Rodin's most daring sculptures, both in its defiance of gravity and in the frankness of its sexuality. The figure was originally conceived in connection with his second project for the Victor Hugo Monument. The figure hovered above the seated figure of Hugo, suggesting that Glory crowned his great achievements as a poet. When enlarged and exhibited independently, the head and left arm were eliminated from the composition.\nDiscussing the Monument to Victor Hugo, Catherine Lampert noted: 'The third muse, eventually not incorporated, is the work known independently and infamously as Iris, Messenger of the Gods (or Eternal Tunnel) […] Conceived from a model who lay obligingly on her back, one leg caught by her hand and the other providing support, even horizontally she is pivoted by her sexual centre. Raised vertically, with the vagina rotated, the orgasmic metaphor becomes more obvious. It has been written that acrobats acted as models for this work and the other Iris figures. Certainly, their sinewy physiques and exhibitionist poses seem to have imaginatively permeated the forms. Rodin was at this time infatuated with the can-can dancers and saved an article in the September 1891 Gil Blas on the Chahut dancer Grille d’Egout. He was also fascinated by the ‘apache’ or hoodlum girls on the rue de Lappe' (C. Lampert, Rodin Sculpture and Drawings, London, 1986, pp. 121 & 123).\nInscribed A. Rodin
GB
GB
GB

medium

Bronze

creator

Auguste Rodin

dimensions

Height: 82.9cm., 32 5/8 in.

exhibition

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Rodin, 1963, no. 65, illustrated in the catalogue

literature

Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1929, no. 199, illustration of another cast p. 82 Albert Sigogneau, 'Le tourment de Rodin', in L'Amour de l'art, Paris, December 1935, illustration of another cast p. 379 Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1944, no. 248, illustration of another cast p. 85 Marcel Aubert, Rodin Sculptures, Paris, 1952, illustration of another cast p. 50 Albert E. Elsen, Rodin, New York, 1963, illustration of another cast p. 185 Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, illustration of another cast pl. 77 Robert Descharnes & Jean-François Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, illustration of the terracotta p. 249 Albert E. Elsen, Rodin, London, 1974, illustration of another cast p. 185 John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, illustration of another cast p. 290 Albert E. Elsen, In Rodin's Studio, A Photographic Record of Sculpture in the Making, Ithaca, 1980, illustration of the plaster pl. 95 Albert E. Elsen (ed.), Rodin Rediscovered, Washington D.C., 1981, illustration of another cast p. 111 Hélène Pinet, Rodin Sculpteur et Les Photographes de Son Temps, Paris, 1985, no. 57, illustration of another cast p. 69 Catherine Lampert, Rodin Sculpture and Drawings, London, 1986, no. 141, illustration of the smaller version p. 221; no. 144, illustrations of another cast pls. 206-207 Jane Mayo Roos, 'Rodin's Monument to Victor Hugo: Art and Politics in the Third Republic', in The Art Bulletin, New York, December 1986, fig. 24, illustration of another cast p. 655 Bernhard Champigneulle, Rodin, Paris, 1989, illustration of another cast p. 105 Mary L. Levkoff, Rodin in His Time, Los Angeles & New York, 1994, no. 43, illustration of another cast p. 137 Ruth Butler, La solitude du génie, Paris, 1998, no. 138, illustration of another cast p. 187 Rachel Blackburn et al., Rodin, A Magnificent Obsession, Los Angeles, 2001, no. 51, colour illustration of another cast p. 68

provenance

Richard S. Davis, Wayzata, Minnesota (acquired before 1963) Wildenstein & Co., New York (acquired from the above) Sylvester Stallone, Los Angeles (acquired from the above) Meyers Bloom Gallery, Santa Monica Acquired from the above by the late owners in 1990

signedDate

Inscribed A. Rodin

time_period

Executed in 1890-91. This work is a life-time cast and was cast by the Alexis Rudier Foundry between 1902 and 1905.

consignmentDesignation

Property from the Larry & Leah Superstein Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1840 - 1917


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

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