Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
H. 55.4 cm ; W. 54.8 cm ; D. 30.2 cm
Cast by Alexis Rudier, 1916-1917, known as the first state. Gift of Étienne Clémentel, 1918.
Étienne Clémentel (1864-1936) was very close to Rodin, to whom he was introduced by Henri Charles Étienne Dujardin- Beaumetz in 1905-06. Named by the sculptor as one of the three executors of his will, he played a dynamic role in the foundation of the museum.
This was the last portrait bust executed by Rodin before the stroke he suffered in July 1916 left him physically and mentally weakened. The unfinished bust could have been completed by Jules Desbois,but was eventually left in the present state, since the latter refused to touch Rodin’s work. The different versions of Clémentel’s bust indicate the sculptor’s working method: the portraitist who built up a solid overall structure, before working on the various details – moustache, eyebrows, or other features – to bring out the sitter’s personality and sometimes modify, almost imperceptibly, the insight one may have into the person represented.