Lot 37
  • 37

Auguste Rodin

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Auguste Rodin
  • Cathédrale, grand modèle
  • Inscribed A. Rodin, (c) by Musée Rodin 1955 and with the foundry mark Georges Rudier Fondeur Paris; with the raised signature A. Rodin on the underside of the base
  • Bonze, rich brown and green patina
  • Height: 25 1/8 in.
  • 63.7 cm


Musée Rodin, Paris

Casino-Palais de la Méditerranée, Nice (acquired from the above in February 1956)

Private Collection, Normandy

Private Collection, Nice (a gift from the above in February 1980)


Nice, Palais de la Méditerranée, Jeux, Sport, Jeunesse, 1965-66


Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1929, no. 378, illustration of the stone carving p. 131

Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1962, illustration of the stone carving p. 102

Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, edition catalogued p. 94; illustrations of the stone carving pls. 50 & 51

Robert Descharnes & Jean-François Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, detail of the stone carving illustrated p. 210

 John L. Tancock, Rodin Museum Handbook, Philadelphia, 1969, no. 120, illustration of another cast p. 93

John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, no. 123, illustration of another cast p. 629

Monique Laurent, Rodin, Martigny, 1984, no. 101, illustration of another cast

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin: Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007, vol. I, no. S.478, illustration of another cast p. 252

Catalogue Note

The present work was also titled by Rodin L’Arche d’alliance, but it is today universally known by its metaphorical title Cathédrale.  John Tancock wrote about this sculpture: ‘Constructed from two right hands, the work evidently owes its inspiration to an idea which came to Rodin during his ceaseless experimentation with the grouping of fragments of his major works.  It was thus the sight of the work that gave him the idea for the title and not vice versa.  Rodin’s great passion for Gothic architecture, which started with visits to the French cathedrals and Belgian churches in the 1870s and culminated in the publication Cathedrals of France in 1914, and his sensitivity to the expressiveness of hands are thus united in this work’ (J. Tancock, op. cit., 1976, p. 628).


Throughout his career Rodin executed several sculptures on the subject of hands, including Le Secret, which was executed in 1910 and is most closely related to the present work.  Unlike some of the other hand studies, particularly La Main Crispée (The Clenched Hand), the present work is remarkable for its elegant composition: the two hands appear to be wrapped around each other and complementing each other spatially, and their tall, delicate shape recalls a Gothic rib vault.  Although it was conceived in 1908, according to Antoinette Le Normand-Romain the first bronze of Cathédrale was not cast until 1925.  The cast currently at the Musée Rodin in Paris was executed in 1966 (A. Le Normand-Romain, op. cit., p. 252).  Several other casts of this work are in museums and public collections including the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Cantor Foundation in Los Angeles.