Lot 385
  • 385

Auguste Rodin

300,000 - 500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Auguste Rodin
  • Première maquette pour le Monument aux Bourgeois de Calais, variante avec piédestal
  • Inscribed A. Rodin, © by Musée Rodin and with the foundry mark Godard Fonr, and numbered No 3
  • Bronze
  • Height: 23 1/2 in.
  • 59.6 cm


Musée Rodin, Paris
Farber Gallery (Leonard Farber), Florida (acquired from the above in November 1973)
Antje Farber, Fort Lauderdale (by descent from the above)
A gift from the estate of the above


John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, no. 67-69-I, illustration of the plaster p. 384

Catalogue Note

In 1347, during the siege of the town of Calais in the Hundred Years' War, its six celebrated burghers offered themselves as hostages to the king of England, Edward III. The king agreed to lift the siege on condition that the burghers presented themselves in his camp as hostages, carrying the keys to the city. Their heroic act is commemorated in Rodin's Les Bourgeois de Calais, now widely recognized as one of the greatest achievements in early modern sculpture.

In the autumn of 1884 Rodin worked on his first maquette. Writing to M. Dewavrin on November 20, 1884, he explained, "The idea seems to me to be so completely original from the point of view of architecture and sculpture... The pedestal is triumphal and has the rudiments of a triumphal arch, in order to carry, not a quadriga, but human patriotism, abnegation and virtue... Rarely have I succeeded in giving a sketch such élan and sobriety" (quoted in John L. Tancock, op. cit., p. 382).

During the inauguration of the monument on June 13, 1895 in Calais, Octave Mirbeau proclaimed: "The movement, the attitudes, the expressions are so true, of such a genuine human feeling, that, behind the group, ready to go, we can actually hear the buzzing of the crowd encouraging them and sobbing, the cheers and farewells. No other complication, no scenic concern of the group; no allegory, not one attribute. Only expressive, fine forms, so expressive that they become ready states of mind" ("Auguste Rodin" in Le Journal, June 4, 1895, quoted in Catherine Lampert, "The Burghers of Calais" in Rodin (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2006-07, p. 236).