Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Letter from Auguste Rodin to Helene de Hindenburg
1902 (22 November)
Ink on paper
H. 17.8 cm ; W. 11.2 cm
In 1900, the young German aristocrat, Helene von Hindenbourg, was just 22 when she was introduced to Rodin, then at the height of his fame. Meeting him made a strong impression on her and marked the beginning of a long friendship, kept up by an abundant and quite extraordinary correspondence. In 1901 and 1902, Rodin stayed at her villa in Ardenza, Italy, where they shared moments of intense artistic sensibility which the sculptor never forgot.Together they explored the region, marvelling at its much-coveted treasures.
Evenings were reserved for reading and music, and in a quasimystical atmosphere, she played Beethoven for him on the piano. In the letters they exchanged, they talked endlessly of the Antique and the Renaissance, praising Perugino, writing enthusiastically about Michelangelo and sharing their musical preferences. In an unusually careful epistolary style, Rodin expressed his innermost emotions, at the same time revealing a rare fervour.