Lot 124
  • 124

Auguste Rodin

250,000 - 350,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Auguste Rodin
  • Éternel printemps, second état, 3ème réduction
  • Inscribed Rodin and with the foundry mark F.Barbedienne.Fondeur.France; numbered 29 and stamped three times with the letter (on the interior)
  • Bronze
  • Height: 15 1/2 in.
  • 39.3 cm


Private Collection, United States (acquired by 1930)
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Léon Maillard, Auguste Rodin, Statuaire, Paris, 1899, illustration of another cast pp. 121-22
Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1927, nos. 69-70, illustration of another cast p. 42
Judith Cladel, Rodin, London, 1936, illustration of the marble version p. 97
Georges Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1944, no. 87, illustration of another cast pl. 56.
Robert Descharnes & Jean-François Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, London & Melbourne, 1967, illustration of another cast p. 134
Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, illustration of another cast pls. 56-57
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, no. 32b, illustration of another cast p. 246
Rodin (exhibition catalogue), Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, 1984, no. 63, illustration of another cast p. 111
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. I, Paris, 2007, no. S.777, illustration of another cast p. 334

Catalogue Note

An image of passion and raw physicality, Éternel printemps is among Auguste Rodin’s most celebrated sculptures. Also known as Zéphyr et la terre and Cupidon et Psyché, the model was exhibited at the Salon of 1897. It was conceived during an intense period of creative activity for Rodin’s monumental La Porte de l’enfer. In the end, the euphoric feelings expressed made it inappropriate to include amongst the tragedy played out in La Porte, and Rodin decided only to include the bust of the male figure. The female figure is based on the highly sensual Torse d'Adèle, which is also included in La Porte.

The theme of embracing lovers was of primary concern for the artist throughout his creative life. A variant of Le Baiser, the work recalls the story of Paolo and Francesca, Dante’s mythical paramours who were condemned to spend eternity locked in a maelstrom of passion. With graceful fluidity, the young man lifts the woman from her knees into a passionate kiss. Her arched body is enveloped into the vigorous twist of his, in a pose that not only celebrates the union of man and woman, but also of stasis and movement, surrender and passion. The couple is animated by the dazzling play of light over the undulations of the bronze and its rich brown patina, and the dynamic upward movement of the man.

L'Éternel printemps' carnality marks a shift in Rodin's oeuvre from classical, allegorical depictions of love, to more sensual, human representations. As evident in the present work, there is a marked increase in the eroticism of his art and a corresponding growth in the daring movement of the poses, possibly a reflection of the artist's studio practice which allowed models to move freely and independently. In the 1880s, Rodin stated that "there is nothing in Nature that has more character than the human body," here felt in the earthly spontaneity of the figures. Indeed, it is this potent combination of physical lyricism and romanticism that defines the work, and which has made it particularly attractive to collectors ever since.