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Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
H. 34 cm ; W. 34.1 cm ; D. 43.5 cm
Marble carved by Victor Peter.
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Fish Woman was made out of the enlarged head of a small female torso. Placed on a brick that acted as a base, it served as a model for the marble, which is much smoother and more decorative in appearance.
The treatment of the base, minimally roughhewn and leaving visible toolmarks, produces an effect of contrast with the far more polished, delicately handled, upper part of the sculpture. The present marble is a replica of the original, sold by Rodin in 1915 to Mrs Spreckels through the American dancer and choreographer, Loie Fuller (now in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco).
Some consider this “decorative fantasy” to be an unfinished project for a fountain, an idea suggested by the way in which the subject is represented, with open mouth and wave-like hair around the face. Others see it as a study in connection with The Gates of Hell , since the theme of heads emerging out of water is frequently found in Dante’s poem.