Dirt Track to Watermael through the Forest of Soignes

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

Circa 1871-1877

Oil on paper mounted on cardboard

H. 36.5 cm ; W. 27 cm


After the siege of Paris in 1870, Rodin went to live in Brussels for six years, working, alongside Carrier-Belleuse, on decorative sculpture.

This was a time when he was still attracted to painting and, being very fond of the Brabant countryside, he executed about 30 landscape views, a little-known aspect of the great sculptor’s oeuvre. Rodin later told Bourdelle “[I visited the museums and cities of Belgium, but all I brought back was] a love of nature as a result of long walks and the severity of the woods that pleased me,” (Cladel, 1936).

These paintings were executed in the open air during the hours he spent rambling in the forest of Soignes with Rose Beuret. In this study, a path lined with a few trees, a vague silhouette of a person in the foreground, a distant grove, a parish church standing on the horizon beneath a misty sky are all depicted very freely with bold touches of bright colour. What the artist above all sought to convey was an impression of fleetingness and spontaneity.


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