Auguste Rodin

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Auguste Rodin
Lucifer (Fallen Meteor in Flames)
ca. 1898-1900
Pencil and watercolor, on paper.
9 3/8 x 12 7/16 inches (239 x 315 mm)
Gift of Alexandre P. Rosenberg.

Rodin studied a model curled up on the ground but provided no physical context for the pose creating the impression of a figure in space. He then gave it a fantastic title that transforms how we see the woman's body: Lucifer meteor in flames, fallen. As Antoinette Le Normand-Romain described his working method, Rodin let his hand wander freely, without looking as he observed the model, to make the initial layers of graphite contours based on instinct. He repeated the act to produce the varied contours seen here before adding the thin layer of wash for her flesh and a thicker pool that spread to form her hair. The loosely foreshortened forms render the figure boneless, almost liquid, and Rodin only faintly indicated her left arm in a single contour. This inconvenient limb was not elaborated on in favor of the silhouette the rest of her body provided.
Rodin turned the drawing upside down and inscribed it with freely associated words, expanding the possible meaning of the form. Related to the drawing campaign that produced this sheet and the ideas embedded in the inscription is a sheet sold at auction (Christie's, New York, 29 June 2022, lot 422), which he traced to make two other versions in the Musée Rodin, Paris (D. 4745 and D. 4635), one of which also bears the word “meteor.” The present drawing and the one sold at Christie's may have been acquired the year of the artist's death and were retained by Paul Rosenberg when he fled France during the second world war.
Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette, and Sterling Francine Clark Art Institute, Organizer, Host Institution. "Rodin in the United States: Confronting the Modern / Edited by Antoinette Le Normand-Romain ; with Essays by Christina Buley-Uribe, Patrick R. Crowley, C.D. Dickerson III, Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Laure De Margerie, Véronique Mattiussi, Elyse Nelson and Jennifer A. Thompson ; and Chronology by Nora M. Rosengarten." 2022, no. 99.


Signed and inscribed by the artist in pencil, at lower right, "A. Rodin / Lucifer / bas Meteore enflamé / tombe"; numbered in pen and black ink, at lower right of old mount, "Inv. No. 134".
Numbered at lower right of old mount, in pen and black ink, "Inv. No. 134".
Watermark: none visible through lining.

Paul (1881-1959) and Marguerite Rosenberg (dates unknown), Paris and New York; his son, Alexandre P. Rosenberg (1921-1987), New York.
Associated names: 

Rosenberg, Paul, 1881-1959, former owner.
Rosenberg, Alexandre P., former owner.


Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twentieth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981-1983. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984, p. 296.

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