Lot 2
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AUGUSTE RODIN | Femme accroupie, petit modèle

700,000 - 1,000,000 GBP
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  • Auguste Rodin
  • Femme accroupie, petit modèle
  • inscribed A. Rodin; stamped with the raised signature A. Rodin on the underside of the base
  • bronze
  • height: 31.9cm.
  • 12 1/2 in.
  • Conceived in 1881-82. This example was cast by the Alexis Rudier Foundry, Paris in August 1902.


Sir Gerald Kelly, London (acquired from the artist in September 1904) Lady Kelly, London (by descent from the above. Sold: Christie's, London, 4th December 1979, lot 23)

Private Collection, Great Britain

Sale: Christie's, London, 2nd December 1985, lot 2

Browse & Darby, London

Mr Roos (sold: Sotheby's, London, 5th April 1989, lot 125)

Private Collection, England (sold: Christie’s, New York, 8th November 2000, lot 1)

Galerie Pels-Leusden, Zurich (purchased at the above sale)

Dr Joachim Theye, Zurich (acquired from the above)

Private Collection, Zurich (by descent from the above in 2006)

Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2007


London, Hayward Gallery, Rodin Sculpture & Drawings, 1986-87, no. 70, illustrated in the catalogue London, Waddington Galleries, Of the Human Form, 1995, no. 27, illustrated in the catalogue

London, Browse & Darby, British & French Paintings, Drawings, Prints & Sculpture, 2000, no. 42, illustrated in the catalogue


Léonce Bénédite, Rodin, London, 1924, a larger cast illustrated pl. XX Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1929, no. 71, another cast illustrated p. 44

Edouard Herriot, Rodin, Paris, 1949, no. 18, a larger cast illustrated 

Jean Charbonneaux, Les Sculptures de Rodin, Paris, 1951, another cast illustrated pls. 24-25

Marcel Aubert, Rodin Sculptures, Paris, 1952, another cast illustrated p. 24

Denys Sutton, Triumphant Satyr: The World of Auguste Rodin, London, 1966, a larger cast illustrated pl. 20

Robert Descharnes & Jean-François Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, the terracotta version and a larger cast illustrated p. 93

Ionel Jianou & Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1969, edition catalogued p. 89; pl. 22, another cast illustrated p. 90

John L. Tancock, Rodin Museum Handbook, Philadelphia, 1969, no. 9, another cast illustrated p. 34

Albert E. Elsen, Rodin, London, 1974, the terracotta and a larger cast illustrated pp. 58-59

John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, no. 6, the terracotta and two other bronze casts illustrated pp. 137-139

Albert E. Elsen, In Rodin's Studio: A Photographic Record of Sculpture in the Making, New York, 1980, no. 1357, the clay illustrated pl. 31

Hélène Pinet, 'Les Photographies de Rodin' in Photographies, September 1983, no. 2, pp. 42, 48, 52, 54, 56 & 58

Hélène Pinet, Rodin sculpteur et les photographes de son temps, Paris, 1985, no. 80, another cast illustrated p. 95 (as dating from 1880-81)

Albert E. Elsen, The Gates of Hell by Auguste Rodin, Stanford, 1985, fig. 76, the clay illustrated p. 84

Frederic V. Grunfeld, Rodin, A Biography, New York, 1987, mentioned pp. 187-188, 270 & 455

Alain Beausire, Quand Rodin exposait, Paris, 1988, index

Ruth Butler, Rodin: The Shape of Genius, New Haven, 1993, pl. 78, another cast illustrated p. 191

Mary L. Levkoff, Rodin in His Time, Los Angeles, 1994, nos. 15-16, another cast illustrated pp. 68-71

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain & Hélène Marraud, Rodin à Meudon: La Villa des Brillants, Paris, 1996, no. 43, the terracotta illustrated p. 74

Anne Pingeot, 'Rodin au Musée du Luxembourg' in La Revue du musée d'Orsay, Paris, 2000, vol. 48/14, no. 30, another cast illustrated p. 76

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, Paris, 2007, vol. I, no. S.1156, another cast and plaster version illustrated pp. 361-362; the present cast listed p. 360

Catalogue Note

Femme accroupie is one of Rodin's most remarkable sculptures in its complex rendering of human form. Conceived in 1881-82, this sculpture was created around the time that Rodin received the commission to design the decorative portals for a new Museum of Decorative Arts, the work later to be known as La Porte de l'Enfer. Appearing on the tympanum, Femme accroupie was one of the fist figures Rodin created for the portals. According to Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, this was evidently one of Rodin’s favourite figures, as he combined it with others to create new compositions (A. Le Normand-Romain, op. cit., 2007, p. 363). Writing in the catalogue for the exhibition Rodin Sculpture & Drawings, in which the present cast was included, Catherine Lampert observed: ‘Rodin may have been tempted for years to place a model in the pose of Michelangelo's Crouching Youth [fig. 2]. Something about the sculpture's unearthly expression, defined by the pronounced Gothic cheekbones and open mouth, distinguishes her from the look of the usual hired models, those who pout or feign shyness [...]. If anything, her type, with parted lips and dark sensuality, reminds us of Delacroix's ravaged women’ (C. Lampert in Rodin Sculpture & Drawings (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., pp. 57 & 61).

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain also wrote about the influence of Michelangelo on the present composition: ‘Vigorously modeled, the work has been compared to Michelangelo’s Crouching Youth (Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), which Rodin may have known through reproductions and from which he might notably have borrowed the powerfully erotic motif of the arm placed between the outspread knees. But his handling of the figure is infinitely freer, helped by the model herself (probably Adèle Abbruzzesi), who was unafraid of adopting the most suggestive poses and, squatting here on her heels (in a posture possibly suggestive of tribal peoples) unselfconsciously exposes the most intimate parts of her body. […] Breaking with Renaissance tradition, the human figure no longer needs any other justification than its own expression. […] As in The Thinker, the back is a splendid study of anatomy, in which all Rodin’s characteristic vitality and attention to living nature can be found’ (A. Le Normand-Romain, op. cit., 2007, p. 362).

The first owner of the present work was the British painter Sir Gerald Kelly (1879-1972), who acquired it directly from Rodin in 1904. Kelly was elected to the Royal Academy in 1930 and served as its President from 1949-54. After his death in 1972, Femme accroupie remained in the collection of his widow Lady Kelly (née Lilian Ryan), who had served as one of the portraitist’s main models throughout his career.


This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue critique de l'œuvre sculpté d'Auguste Rodin being prepared by the Comité Rodin with the collaboration of Galerie Brame & Lorenceau under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay, under the archive number 2000-820B.