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Rodin’s L’Éternel Printemps set for $12 million sale at Sotheby’s

An iconic marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin will be amongst the highlights of a Sotheby’s sale in New York next month.
Rodin’s L’Éternel Printemps, a depiction of embracing lovers conceived in 1884, is one of the artist’s most celebrated creations.

He once stated that he had drawn inspiration for the work whilst listening to Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony, and the sculpture marked a development in his use of more daring and erotic poses for his figures.

The sculpture offered at Sotheby’s was carved from a single block of marble by Rodin circa 1901-1903, and is the fifth of ten known uniquely finished carvings of the subject.

Other marbles from this series can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (1901); the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (1906); The Museum of Decorative Arts, Buenos Aires (1907); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1906-07) and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (1907-1910).

Frederick Lawton’s 1906 biography on the artist singled out the fifth sculpture as the most magnificent of the series, and it will now cross the auction block for the first time in two decades with an estimate of $8-$12 million.

L’Éternel Printemps leads a strong selection of sculptures in the Sotheby’s auction. Further notable lots include Rodin’s ‘Iris, Messagère Des Dieux’, estimated at $2.5-$3.5 million; Joan Miró’s monumental ‘Oiseau’, conceived in 1968 and then enlarged and cast in 1981, valued at $6-$8 million; and Aristide Maillol’s ‘Le Monument à Claude Debussy’ estimated at $1.5-$2.5 million.

The Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art takes place in New York on Monday May 9.

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