• Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell) - Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
Click image to enlarge

Désespoir de la Porte (Despair, from the Gates of Hell)

Auguste Rodin

(French, 1840-1917)

Signed A. Rodin
Plaster with red and brown patina
Height: 7 1/4" (18.5 cm)

Conceived circa 1886-1887. This example executed circa 1900.


Provenance
Charles Delanglade, Marseille (gift from the artist, circa 1900)
Thence by descent
Private Collection, UK

Literature
A. Romain-Le Normand, Rodin et le bronze, tome I, Paris, 2007, p. 305-306, ill. of a bronze cast

Conceived circa 1886-1887. According to Comité Rodin, this plaster was made at the request of the sculptor around 1900, most likely by Eugene Guioché, caster of Rodin between 1897 and 1915. The Rodin Museum archives hold a letter from André Delanglade, nephew of the sculptor Charles Delanglade, Marseille (1870-1952) dated January 2, 1927 to Georges Grappe, curator of the Rodin Museum, mentioning the numerous works acquired from Rodin by the Marseilles collector Antoni Roux, works later given by Roux to Delanglade at the death of his son. It shows that his "uncle Delanglade" also received directly from Rodin two plasters "A figure of despair" and "Little Mermaids" with a dedication to Paul Arene.

Auguste Rodin’s most highly praised work relates to the commission of a set of monumental doors for the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1880. These were the revolutionary Gates of Hell. Inspired by Dante's Inferno and Michelangelo's fresco of the Last Judgement, the bronze decorative doors stand 7.5m high and depict a sea of writhing and restless bodies in a state of chaos. The work became an obsessive passion for Rodin and was still unfinished 24 years later in 1904, when the State withdrew funding for casting. He continued working on and off this project until his death in 1917. The museum itself was never developed.

The present figure, known as Le Desespoir de la Porte, is taken from The Gates of Hell and appears as part of a group of other figures evoking grief and despair in the upper part of the right-hand leaf. With its unusual pose, the sculpture showcases Rodin’s originality and ability to visually depict the feeling of desperation. The figure was conceived as a separate sculpture from the Gates circa 1890.

Rodin returned to the image three years later, enlarging the figure and changing the composition so that the clasped leg extends horizontally and the head lays flat into the back of the bent knee. This one also appears on the door panel. A version of this figure in plaster cast with a smooth base is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, donated by Sir Claude Phillips in 1924.

A. Rodin, Le Désespoir, Victoria & Albert Museum

A bronze cast by Alexis Rudier is in the collection of the Musée Rodin. Other casts by Alexis Rudier are in the collection of the Maryhill Museum, USA, the Brooklyn Museum, USA and the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. A version carved in white marble was sold at auction through Sotheby’s in 1990 for $800,000.

A. Rodin, Le Désespoir de la Porte, Musée Rodin

Featured Sculpture 19th & 20th Century

Browse By Artist

Robert Adams, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Adams, Robert

(British, 1917-1984)

Michael Ayrton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Ayrton, Michael

(British, 1921-1975)

Gilbert Bayes, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Bayes, Gilbert

(British, 1872-1953)

Pietro Calvi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Calvi, Pietro

(Italian, 1833-1884)

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carpeaux, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1827-1875)

A. E. Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Carrier-Belleuse, A. E.

(French, 1824-1887)

Lynn Chadwick, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Chadwick, Lynn

(British, 1914-2003)

Demetre Chiparus, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Chiparus, Demetre

(Romanian, 1886-1947)

Geoffrey Clarke, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clarke, Geoffrey

(British, 1924-2014)

Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Clesinger, Jean-Baptiste

(French, 1814-1883)

Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Cordier, Charles Henri

(French, 1827-1905)

Aimé-Jules Dalou, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Dalou, Aimé-Jules

(French, 1838-1902)

Francis Derwent Wood, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Derwent Wood, Francis

(British, 1871-1926)

Jules Desbois, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Desbois, Jules

(French, 1851-1935)

Alfred Drury, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Drury, Alfred

(English, 1856-1944)

Sir Jacob Epstein, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Epstein, Sir Jacob

(British, 1880-1959)

Pierre Félix Fix-Masseau, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Fix-Masseau, Pierre Félix

(French, 1869-1937)

Pablo Gargallo, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gargallo, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881 - 1934)

 George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

George Frederick Watts & Thomas Wren

(British )

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gérôme, Jean-Léon

(French, 1824-1904)

Sir Alfred Gilbert, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Gilbert, Sir Alfred

(British, 1854-1934)

Adrian Jones, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Jones, Adrian

(English, 1846-1938)

Fritz Klimsch, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Klimsch, Fritz

(German, 1870-1960)

Gerald Laing, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Laing, Gerald

(UK, 1936-2011)

Frederic Lord  Leighton, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Leighton, Frederic Lord

(English, 1830-1896)

Andrea Lucchesi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Lucchesi, Andrea

(Italian, 1860-1924)

Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mackennal, Sir Edgar Bertram

(Australian, 1863-1931)

Marino Marini, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Marini, Marino

(Italian, 1901-1980)

Antonin Mercié, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mercié, Antonin

(French, 1845-1916)

Ivan Mestrovic, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Mestrovic, Ivan

(Croatian, 1883-1962)

Constantin Meunier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Meunier, Constantin

(Belgian, 1831-1905)

George Minne, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Minne, George

(Belgian, 1866-1941)

Henry Moore, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Moore, Henry

(English, 1898-1986)

Edward Onslow-Ford, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Onslow-Ford, Edward

(English, 1852-1901)

Eduardo Paolozzi, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Paolozzi, Eduardo

(British, 1924-2005)

Paul  Philippe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Philippe, Paul

(French , 1870-1930 )

Pablo Picasso, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Picasso, Pablo

(Spanish, 1881-1973)

Charles d'Orville Pilkington Jackson, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Pilkington Jackson, Charles d'Orville

(British, 1887-1973)

Enzo Plazzotta, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Plazzotta, Enzo

(Italian, 1921-1981)

Hiram Powers, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Powers, Hiram

(American, 1805-1873)

Jean-Jacques Pradier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Pradier, Jean-Jacques

(Swiss, 1790-1852)

Auguste Rodin, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin, Auguste

(French, 1840-1917)

 Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Rodin and Carrier-Belleuse

(French, 1840-1917 and 1824-1887)

Alfred Stevens, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Stevens, Alfred

(English, 1818-1875)

Raymond Sudre, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Sudre, Raymond

(French, 1870-1962)

Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Thornycroft, Sir William Hamo

(English, 1850-1925)

Albert Toft, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Toft, Albert

(English, 1862-1949)

Reuben Townroe, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Townroe, Reuben

(British, 1835-1911)

Arthur George Walker, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Walker, Arthur George

(British, 1861 - 1936)

Ossip Zadkine, Bowman Sculpture Ltd

Zadkine, Ossip

(Russian/French, 1890-1967)