Black Rock Galleries

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Original Bronze Head Of John The Baptist, Gruet Foundry, Paris, Ca. 1891-1892

Winning Bid $388,000.00

Location: BRG - Greenwich

Item #: 85408
Condition: Excellent - Very minor blemishes, hardly noticible.
Dimensions: 17" x 11" x 21.5"
Categories: Art , Sculpture
View Terms & Conditions

Transport Fee: $50.00

Rodin, Francois Auguste Rene (1840-1917, French)
Buste de Saint Jean-Baptiste
A remarkable and magnificently cast richly dark
patinated bronze bust of John the Baptist.
Signed on right side of base: A Rodin,
Inscribed on back of base: GRUET Aine Fondeur Paris
17" L X 11" W X 21 1/2" H

"This sculpture betrays the raw physical and emotional intensity that set Rodin's work apart from conventional sculpture of his era. The saint's gouged eyes, sunken cheeks and tousled locks convey the spiritual ferocity with which he announces Christ's coming." - The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Rodin's John the Baptist

The original cast of the Monumental Head of John the Baptist (S.6670) was made by the Jr. Gruet at the family foundry in 1880. His father, preferred by Rodin, cast the piece twice more in 1891 and 1892. One of these casts was gifted by Rodin to the writer Adrien Peytel in 1895.

The subsequent fate of one of the two is known. The former Plateau (Rodin Museum) in Seoul S. Korea was in possession of it as early as 1999. The second has been considered 'lost' ... until now.

BRG is proud to offer what appears to be the second, lost, casting. Technically, dimensionally and aesthetically the bronze appears to be genuine. Copies are known to exist of the later Rudier casts as well as casts made from the plaster in the later Godard Foundry. None is known of the piece at hand. It is signed 'Gruet, Aine (Sr.) Fondeur, Paris.' It is clearly new to the marketplace with a provenance that stretches back at least 60 years.

This is a unique opportunity to acquire a world-class object, from an edition of two, by an iconic sculptor.

GUARANTEE (PLEASE NOTE): Black Rock Galleries fully stands behind the authenticity of this Rodin "John the Baptist" work of art and will provide a 90 day guarantee. During this period the winning bidder's payment will be held in escrow for 90 days beginning at the close of the auction whereby the winning bidder may have this piece authenticated (at their own expense).

According to an opinion given by a curator at the Musee Rodin in Paris (based on images BRG provided last month), the buste appears to be in keeping with the examples in their collection. [copy and paste link to catalogue Rodin (in French):]

Further communication from the Musee Rodin received earlier this month included additional insights into known castings and history of Rodin’s Buste de Saint Jean-Baptist’s castings, including the example that was held in the Rodin Museum in Seoul, Korea and an example shown to the Musee Rodin in 1997 which was acquired from a descendant of Joanny Peytel. The opinion also stated that the signature of the bronze offered by BRG is similar to one of their 1880 Gruet Jeune castings.

[Joanny Peytel was Rodin’s banker and it was to Peytel that Rodin gave numbers of pieces. It appears that although Adrien was a figure in Rodin’s life, Joanny Peytel held the purse strings and, therefore, the recipient of the gifts of artwork. The Musée Rodin has many examples from the collection of Joanny Peytel.]

CONDITION: This bronze is in incredibly fine condition, commensurate with age. It has a beautiful dark patina with a rich dark green hue that is most likely original. This bronze lay virtually untouched for decades in the estate.