Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Standing Embracing Couple, Profile View
Pencil and watercolour on paper
H. 49.8 cm ; W. 33 cm
The contrast between the treatment of the two bodies clasped in an embrace (whose fine pencil outlines are covered by a pale, fleshcoloured wash) and that of the flamboyant background against which they are set, and the clarity of the borders between human figures and background, recall the technique of collage. In fact, as is frequently found in Rodin’s oeuvre, one work generated another, metamorphosed into a new composition. In the present drawing, the artist seems to have traced an earlier drawing, probably the one entitled A Reef at the Bottom of the Sea-Two Embracing Figures, executed between 1896 and 1900, exhibited at the Pavillon de l’Alma, Paris, is now in the Weimar Museum.Then, using this tracing as a starting point, Rodin transferred the outline of the same couple onto a new sheet of paper, but here, the figures are not immersed in a watery universe as in the Weimar drawing, but stand out against a fiery background, streaked with vertical lines in pencil.
The abstract background, a sort of blood red stage curtain, removes all notion of temporality from this scene of two lovers fusing into one, which has no place in the tangible world.