Auguste Rodin (French, 18401917)
Terracotta, on a wooden base; H. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm)
The Charles Ulrich and Josephine Bay Foundation Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.312.7)
When Rodin began his studies at the École Impériale Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathématiques, students were drawing not only from the live model, but also from the sculptures of such eighteenth-century French masters as Edme Bouchardon (16981762) and Clodion (17381814). This training, together with his experience as an assistant in the studio of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (18241887), is evident in the modeling of this bust of a winsome young woman with grapes in her hair. In the catalogue for a 1997 exhibition, Vers l'Âge d'Airain: Rodin en Belgique, held at the Musée Rodin in Paris, Antoinette Le Normand-Romain has noted the close resemblance of this sculpture to one called Autumn (L'Automne) by Carrier-Belleuse. The Metropolitan Museum's terracotta, signed by Rodin, may have been one of the terracottas that contributed to the growing friction between Rodin, who wished to sell his sculpture under his own name, and his employer, who fired him for doing so.