Lot 317
  • 317

AUGUSTE RODIN | Le Baiser, 3ème réduction

250,000 - 350,000 EUR
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  • Auguste Rodin
  • Le Baiser, 3ème réduction
  • signed Rodin and inscribed with the foundry mark F. BARBEDIENNE Fondeur; stamped K (underside) and numbered 10 (in the interior)
  • bronze
  • height: 39,5 cm ; 15 1/2 in.
  • Conceived in 1886. This reduction was conceived in 1901 and the present example was cast between 1910 and 1918 in an edition between 105 and 109.


Jules Lafourcade, Bayonne (in the 1930s)
Private collection, France (by descent and sold: Christie's, Paris, June 14, 2010, lot 36)
Galerie L'Univers du bronze, Paris
Private collection (acquired from the above in 2010 and sold: Christie's, Paris, March 25, 2014, lot 8)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner 


Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1927, illustration of the marble version p. 47
Georges Grappe, Le Musée Rodin, Paris, 1947, illustration of the marble version pl. 71
Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, sa vie, son oeuvre, son héritage, Paris, 1962, illustration of the marble version
Albert E. Elsen, Rodin, London, 1963, illustration of another cast p. 63
Bernard Champigneulle, Rodin, London, 1967, illustration of the marble version pp. 162-63
Robert Descharnes & Jean François Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Lausanne, 1967, illustration of the marble version pls. 54-55
Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, illustration of the marble version pls. 54-55
Ludwig Goldscheider, Rodin Sculptures, London, 1970, illustration of the marble version p. 121
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, illustration of the marble version p. 77
Jacques de Caso & Patricia Sanders, Rodin's Sculpture, A Critical Study of the Spreckels Collection, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 1977, illustration of another cast p. 150
Nicole Barbier, Marbres de Rodin, collection du musée, Paris, 1987, illustrations of the marble version pp. 185 & 187
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Le Baiser de Rodin/The Kiss by Rodin, Paris, 1995, illustration of another cast fig. 3
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Rodin, Paris, 1997, illustration of the terracotta version p. 48
Albert E. Elsen, Rodin's Art, The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University, New York, 2003, illustration of another cast pp. 214-15
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. I, Paris, 2007, no. S. 2393, illustrations of other casts pp. 158-63


Please contact the Impressionist and Modern Art Department for the condition report for this lot.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

"The charm of the large group of a girl and a man that is called The Kiss lies in its understanding and circulation of life. In this group waves flow through the bodies, a shuddering ripple, a thrill of potency, and tremors of beauty. This is the reason for which one beholds throughout these bodies the ecstasy of this kiss. It is like a sun that rises and floods all with its light" (Rainer Maria Rilke, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1953. p. 56-58).

Created in 1886, Le Baiser is one of Rodin's best-known and most highly regarded sculptures. Originally intended for the left side of The Gates of Hell, the present work portrays a scene from Dante's Inferno. The two embracing figures are the ill-fated lovers, Paolo and Francesca, who were murdered by Francesca's husband and Paolo's brother, Vanni Malatesta. Banished for their adulterous passion, the two lovers were doomed to spend eternity in an embrace. Among all the love stories in Dante's Commedia, this forbidden liaison, reminiscent of courtly love, had the greatest resonance for a late 19th-century audience and appeared in seminal works by other artists.

Unlike more austere, contemporaneous variations of this subject, Le Baiser depicts the lovers in the throes of a passionate kiss. The sensuality of this work, enhanced by the tenderness of the figures' kiss, has made the work one of the most celebrated images in Western art. Albert Elsen describes the novel gesture of Rodin's Le Baiser: "In The Kiss, which could have been made by 1881, Rodin was still trying to show the official art world that he could compose with the best of the Prix de Rome winners. In fact, he not only outdid them in the sincerity of the lovers' expressions of mutual awareness and love, he even revived an old gesture of sexual appropriation by having the more assertive Francesca sling her leg over that of the hesitant Paolo" (Albert E. Elsen, The Gates of Hell by Auguste Rodin, Stanford, 1985, p. 78).

In 1898 Rodin entered into a contract with the foundry Leblanc-Barbedienne in order to reproduce Le Baiser in different sizes. The original editions of Le Baiser were respectively 72 cm. and 27 cm., to which Leblanc-Barbedienne added, after 1901, a 39 cm. reduction that was produced until 1918. The present work is a cast from this third reduction.

This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Critique de l'oeuvre sculpté d'Auguste Rodin being currently prepared by Galerie Brame & Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay under the archive number 2010-3137B.