• Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo)

Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Signed A. Rodin
Bronze with brown patination
Height: 15.2" (38.7 cm)

Conceived circa 1885, this cast executed by François Rudier in May-June 1897. 7 casts of this model were made during the artist's lifetime.


Conceived circa 1885, this bronze was cast by the François Rudier foundry in 1897. The Comité Rodin states that at least 7 casts of this model in this size were produced between 1893 and 1916 by the Griffoul & Lorge, J.B. Griffou, François Rudier and Alexis Rudier foundries. The Georges Rudier foundry cast four editions of the same model for the Musée Rodin between 1962 and 1973, and two more casts were produced by the Émile Godard foundry in 1980.

The Bust of Victor Hugo is sold together with a framed letter of provenance from the first owner of the work – Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Duncan Putnam (1867-1928) – and with an etching signed by the artist.

Auguste Rodin was introduced to the great Romantic Writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885) in 1883 by the journalist Edmond Bazire. The artist produced the first, full-size bronze of the model in the same year, donating it to the sitter. Another bronze cast, produced a few months later, was inscribed with a line from La Légende des Siècles: ‘Un Poète est un monde enfermé dans un Homme’ (A Poet is a World enshrined in a Man) and was shown at the 1884 Salon. The present version of the piece is a ‘reduction’ of Rodin’s initial concept for the work, being roughly 12 cm smaller than the bronze donated by the artist to Hugo.

Frederick Lawton’s text, typewritten in the letter of provenance accompanying the piece, highlights the unorthodox nature of Hugo’s sittings for the piece, since he only agreed ‘that Rodin should come and lunch every day if he wished to make the sketches he needed during the meal.’ The studies for the portrait were thus produced during numerous lunches at the author’s house, who never posed for the artist in his studio. Engravings such as the one accompanying this piece were made after these studies.

The bust and engraving were acquired by Elizabeth D. Putnam directly from the artist in 1897, remaining in the family’s collection ever since. Elizabeth Putnam was an archaeologist, member of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences and an amateur painter. Rodin’s interest in archaeology constituted the basis of their friendly relationship, which, according to archival documents, continued until 1903. In the letter of provenance, Ms Putnam describes how she acquired the work:

‘Rodin showed me a number of etchings and when I asked how much they were he replied he never had sold one. He finally asked fifty francs and signed it before me. The bust I paid 150 francs for. The head of the foundry [François Rudier] happened to be there and Rodin gave directions to have it cast especially.’

The letter constitutes a fascinating window into Rodin’s studio life, as well as a fantastic item of provenance.

Works by Auguste Rodin

Dosia - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Dosia


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

 Le Frère et la Soeur (Brother and Sister) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Le Frère et la Soeur (Brother and Si...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Giganti, Torse Masculin (Torso of Giganti) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Giganti, Torse Masculin (Torso of Gig...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Étude pour le Secret (Study for the Secret) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Étude pour le Secret (Study for the S...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Torse Masculin (Masculine Torso) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Torse Masculin (Masculine Torso)


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor Hugo) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Buste de Victor Hugo (Bust of Victor ...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Le Baiser (The Kiss), 3rd Reduction - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Le Baiser (The Kiss), 3rd Reduction


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(French, 1840-1917)

Éternelle Idole (Eternal Idol), Moyen Modèle - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Éternelle Idole (Eternal Idol), Moyen...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Nijinsky - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Nijinsky


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Éternelle Idole (Eternal Idol), Petit Modèle - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Éternelle Idole (Eternal Idol), Petit...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Le Baiser (The Kiss), 2nd Reduction - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Le Baiser (The Kiss), 2nd Reduction


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

L'Éternel Printemps (Eternal Spring), 2nd Reduction - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

L'Éternel Printemps (Eternal Spring),...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Le Baiser (The Kiss), 4th Reduction - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Le Baiser (The Kiss), 4th Reduction


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

L'Éternel Printemps (Eternal Spring), 4th Reduction - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

L'Éternel Printemps (Eternal Spring),...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Balzac, étude type c (buste) 3ème version, grand modèle - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Balzac, étude type c (buste) 3ème ver...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Faunesse Debout (Standing Faunesse), Simple Rock Version - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Faunesse Debout (Standing Faunesse), ...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Eve, Small Model - Model with a Square Base and Flat Feet - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Eve, Small Model - Model with a Squar...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Faunesse Debout (Standing Faunesse), Version au Rocher Simple - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Faunesse Debout (Standing Faunesse), ...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

L'Éternel Printemps (Eternal Spring), 3rd Reduction - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

L'Éternel Printemps (Eternal Spring),...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Masque de l'Homme au Nez Cassé (Mask of A Man With A Broken Nose) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Masque de l'Homme au Nez Cassé (Mask ...


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Maquette for the Burghers of Calais - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Maquette for the Burghers of Calais


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Bather with Sandals - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Bather with Sandals


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Le Penseur (The Thinker) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Le Penseur (The Thinker)


Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Download Exhibition Catalogues for Auguste Rodin

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Rodin - In Private Hands


2014 Exhibition Catalogue

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Nude


2016 Exhibition Catalogue