Mouvement de danse F
Inscribed Nº9 and ©
Bronze with rich brown, green and light brown patina
Height: 10 5/8'' (27 cm)
Conceived in circa 1911. This example cast posthumously by the Musée Rodin. There are no lifetime casts of this model.
In Auguste Rodin’s later years, he took a keen interest in dance, but unlike Edgar Degas, who was well known for his study on ballerinas, Rodin was fascinated by a new generation of dancers such as Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan and Vaslav Nijinsky. These dancers favoured free flowing movements driven by emotion as oppose to the traditionally regimented and perfected style of ballet.
In particular, Isadora Duncan established a ‘temple’ to the cult of the Greek dance in Bellevue, near the sculptor’s studio in Meudon. Thanks to such proximity, Rodin was able to sketch her students’ movements, lamenting, ‘if I had only known such models when I was young. Models who move and whose movement is in close harmony with nature’.
At the same time, the artist was particularly enthralled by acrobat Alda Moreno, the model and companion of sculptor Jules Desbois. Between 1903 to 1913, Rodin sketched Moreno in unusual poses. The artist himself described his work stating that “some people find all this obscene. But it’s almost pure mathematics. It’s not driven by passion, or rather, it looks like the movements of unknown passions”.
A. Rodin, Female nude in profile holding her leg behind her head (Alda Moreno?), Musée Rodin, Paris
Le nu académique Journal of 1905, showing the newly-discovered photos of Alda Moreno, Musée Rodin, Paris
The result of Rodin’s interest in dance are nine models, which the artist executed between 1910–1919, entitled Mouvements de Danse. A major exhibition dedicated to these sculptures was organised in 2016 by The Courtauld Gallery, Rodin and Dance – The Essence of Movement, which then travelled to Musée Rodin in 2018.
The plaster versions of such works are housed in the collection of the Musée Rodin. All bronze versions were cast posthumously by the Museum.
In the present work, Mouvement de danse F, the artist depicts the body of a dancer as it leaps in the air, the right leg stretched to the side while the left is bent. The right arm is curved and raised over her head, the palm of the hand facing upwards. The result is an unnatural but evocative composition, depicting the essence of dance rather than a specific movement.
Alexandra Gerstein, eds, Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement (London: 2016), pp. 178-179.
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin: Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin Vol. II (Paris: 2007), p. 537.
Joan Vita Millar & Gary Marotta, Rodin: The B. Gerald Cantor Collection (New York: 1986), p. 116, 121, 167.