Lot 11
  • 11

Auguste Rodin

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Auguste Rodin
  • Eve
  • Inscribed with the signature A. Rodin; stamped with the raised signature Rodin on the underside of the base
  • Bronze
  • Height: 29 7/8 in.
  • 76 cm


Musée Rodin, Paris

Jules Mastbaum, Philadelphia (acquired from the above in 1925)

Mrs. Jefferson Dickson, Beverly Hills

Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 16, 1989, lot 316)

Fujii Gallery, Tokyo (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1994, lot 5)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Rodin Drawings and Small Bronzes, 1964-65


Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1929, no. 55, illustration of the marble version p. 41
Judith Cladel, Auguste Rodin, sa vie glorieuse, sa vie inconnue, Paris, 1936, pp. 142-143
Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, illustration of the plaster, pl. 17; edition catalogued pp. 88-89
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, pp. 148-157, no. 8-5, illustration of the present cast p. 154
Albert E. Elsen, The Gates of Hell by Auguste Rodin, Stanford, 1985, no. 64, illustrations of another cast pp. 74-78
Raphäel Masson & Véronique Mattiusi, Rodin, Paris, 2004, illustration of another cast p. 39

Catalogue Note

Conceived as part of Rodin's creations for his Gates of Hell, Eve is a sensual portrayal of the mother of humanity sheltering herself in her own embrace.  Depicted at the end of innocence, at the moment when she becomes aware of her nakedness, the psychological impact of Eve's revelation is rendered through the striking physicality of her pose.  The fullness of her figure and the beautifully modelled curving of her body reflect her strength as well as the vulnerability of this intense moment.  Rodin's working model for this sculpture was a life-size plaster that he never finished, allegedly because his model was pregnant and could not endure the long hours of posing.  The artist also completed two 'half-size' versions of the sculpture, sometimes referred to as Petite Eve.  The first version, also known as Eve jeune aux pieds plats, depicts the figure emerging from a roughly hewn base.  In the second version, the present work, which was first executed in marble in 1883 and known as Eve petit modèle - modèle à la base carrée et aux pieds plats, she becomes a free-standing figure.

A beautiful description of the work was written in 1903 by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke:  "It shrivels like burning paper, it becomes stronger, more concentrated, more animated.  That Eve [which] was originally to be placed over The Gates of Hell, stands with her head sunk deeply into the shadow of the arms that draw together over the breast like those of a freezing woman.  The back rounded, the nape of the neck almost horizontal.  She bends forward as though listening to her own body as a new future begins to stir.  And it is as though the gravity of this future weighed upon the sense of the woman and drew her down from the freedom of life, into the deep, humble service of motherhood."

The first owner of this bronze, Jules Mastbaum, was the founder of the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.  In just three years, between 1923 and his premature death in 1926, Mastbaum formed an extensive collection of Rodin's sculptures, acquiring examples from all periods of the sculptor's work.  The major part of this collection was destined for the Rodin Museum, which Mastbaum offered to finance for the city of Philadelphia.  Mastbaum did not live to see the completion of the museum, which officially opened to the public in November 1929.