Buste de Suzon (Bust of Suzon), 4th Reduction
Signed A Rodin
Height: 12 1/8” (30.8 cm)
Height including base: 15 ½ “ (39.2 cm)
Conceived in 1873-1875; this marble version executed circa 1900-1914.
Provenance & Comité Rodin certificate available on request.
Born in Paris in 1840, Rodin studied drawing at the Petite École alongside fellow sculptor and friend, Aimé-Jules Dalou. After struggling to find work in the French capital, he moved to Belgium at the age of 24 and joined the atelier of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, one of the most fashionable sculptors of the Second French Empire.
Rodin was initially tasked with completing the compositions of other sculptors’ works for interior schemes and decorative objects, but was quickly given more creative freedom. It is now widely accepted that several works signed by Carrier-Belleuse were in fact partial or complete works by Rodin.
This particular piece, called Suzon (and occasionally La Petite Manon), was first modelled in 1872 and created shortly after Rodin left the atelier of Carrier-Belleuse. Suzon is characterised by distinct facial features, such as a rounded face, slightly upturned nose and a half-opened mouth showing glimpses of teeth behind petite, yet sensuous lips. The bust demonstrates Rodin’s complete command of his master’s approach to feminine beauty and represents the sculptor’s refined Neo-Rococo style during this period.
Financial difficulties early in Rodin’s career forced the sculptor to cede both a marble and plaster version of Suzon, along with the related rights to reproduction, to the Compagnie des Bronzes in 1875. The immediate and immense popularity of Suzon led to the sculpture being reproduced in various mediums, formats and sizes until 1939.
Along with models in terracotta, bronze, plaster and marble, the Compagnie des Bronzes presented five sizes of the sculpture. This particular piece is a rare lifetime marble carving that was one of approximately 25 versions executed by the Compagnie des Bronzes between 1910 and 1920.
Auguste Rodin is considered the ‘Father of Modern Sculpture’, due to his influence on future generations of artists and sculptors around the world long after his death. Rodin’s timeless legacy was recently highlighted at the 2017 Grand Palais exhibition in Paris, which marked the centenary of his death.
Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin, Paris, 1938, no. 28 (plaster version illustrated)
Ionel Jianou and Cécile Goldscheider, Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 86 (plaster version)
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, Philadelphia, 1976, p. 582, no. 106-2 (bronze version illustrated)
Cecile Goldscheider, Auguste Rodin: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre sculpté, vol. I, Paris, 1989, p. 84, no. 64 (another marble version illustrated)
Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, The Bronzes of Rodin, Catalogue of Works in the Musée Rodin, vol. II, Paris, 2007, pp. 662-665, no. S. 961, (bronze and porcelain versions illustrated)
Albert E. Elsen, Rodin's Art, The Rodin Collection of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, New York, 2003, p. 447, no. 129 (bronze version illustrated).
Carrier-Belleuse: Le maître de Rodin, J. Hargrove and G. Grandjean eds., exh. cat., Palais de Compiègne, Paris, 2014, pp. 134, no. 94 (bronze version illustrated)