Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Bust of Hanako, Type F
H. 47.8 cm ; W. 24 cm ; D. 31 cm
Rodin met the Japanese dancer and actress, Hanako, during the Colonial Exhibition in Marseilles, in 1906.
Fascinated by the force of her expression in the scenes where she performed hara-kiri, the sculptor begged her to pose for him. In tandem with the series of studies of the actress’ face as she committed suicide on stage, he also modelled this splendid portrait bust.The sketchily indicated shoulders and the very sober base, a simple mass of clay sliced with a wire, highlight the head, mounted on a strong neck. As a collector of Japanese art, Rodin enjoyed scrutinizing the features of this tiny, energetic woman and retranscribing them in broad volumes before adding the details by making fine incisions in the clay.
Her hairstyle clearly interested him for particular care was paid to the top-knot. In the series of nude studies Rodin made of Hanako, this hairstyle is one of the performer’s distinctive features.