Lot 359
  • 359

Auguste Rodin

350,000 - 500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Auguste Rodin
  • Les Métamorphoses d'Ovide, modèle au tetre simple
  • Inscribed A Rodin and dedicated A mon ami Rollinat son admirateur Rodin
  • Bronze
  • Length: 15 in.
  • 38.1 cm


Maurice Rollinat, Fresselines (a gift from the artist)
Georges Haviland, Paris (acquired from the family of the above in 1903 and sold: Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, June 2, 1932, lot 75)
Private Collection, France
Sale: Couturier-Nicolay, Paris, March 14, 1969, lot 49
Harold B. Weinstein, New York
Sale: Christie's, New York, May 8, 2000, lot 23
Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditescheim & Cie, Geneva
Sale: Tajan, Paris, December 1, 2005, lot 11
Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditescheim & Cie, Geneva
Acquired from the above in 2008


Georges Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1944, illustration of another cast pl. 66
Marcel Aubert, Rodin Sculptures, Mulhouse, 1952, illustration of another cast p. 47
Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, illustration of another cast p. 91
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, illustrations of another cast p. 260 & the marble version fig. 36-1
Albert Edward Elsen, Rodin's Art, The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University, New York, 2003, no. 68, illustration of another cast pp. 256-57
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. II, Paris, 2007, no. S.1145, cited p. 516, illustrations of another cast pp. 516-17
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Rodin, Paris, 2013, illustration of the marble version p. 138
L'Enfer selon Rodin (exhibition catalogue), Musée Rodin, Paris, 2016, illustration of another cast p. 206


The patina is a variegated green and dark brown color. There is minor rubbing to the surface and light surface scratches which are consistent with age. There are two casting joins visible: one is located at the bottom figure's left thigh and torso; the other is located along the upper figure's back. These are inherent in the work and due to the production process. The work is in otherwise very good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Conceived during the most prolific period of Rodin’s career, Les Metamorphoses d’Ovide depicts a passionate embrace between two lovers, an essential example of a period in which love and eroticism played a pronounced role in the artist’s work. It was during this period that Rodin met his mistress, Camille Claudel, an experience that at once caused great suffering and great passion. Rodin incorporated the dynamic figural group of  the present work into the top right corner of the cornice of his masterpiece, Porte de l'Enfer.

The present work is one of many tributes Rodin would make to classical mythology. Derived from the Roman poet Ovid’s best-known work—the Metamorphoses. Rather than replicate any particular legend, the sculpture represents more generally many of the lovers captured in Ovid’s masterpiece, and is closely related to other sculptures such as Daphnis and Lycenion (1885) and Cupid and Psyche (1886), also from the Metamorphoses.

During this period in Rodin’s practice, there is a marked increase in the eroticism of his art and a corresponding growth in the daring movement of the poses, as he began treating love in human terms rather than allegorically. Striking in the spontaneous beauty of its closed form, its intensely lyrical eroticism and the magic of a fugitive gesture, the momentary touching of the two thumbs takes on great emotionality and sensuality. A reflection of the artist's studio practice, where he allowed the models to move freely and independently, Rodin himself proclaimed, "sculpture does not need to be original, what it needs is life... I used to think that movement was the chief thing in sculpture and in all I did it was what I tried to attain... Grief, joy, thoughts—in our art all becomes action" (quoted in Ionel Jianou & Cècile Goldscheider, op. cit., pp. 19-20).

This example is one of four known lifetime casts by the artist.