Helene von Nostitz

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)


Glass paste

H. 23.2 cm ; W. 21.5 cm ; D. 9.7 cm


Helene von Nostitz, née Hindenburg (1878–1944), granddaughter of the German ambassador to Paris, met Rodin in 1900 at the Exposition Universelle. A very cultured young woman, knowledgeable about literature and music, she introduced the sculptor to her favourite writings. Thus began a very intellectual friendship.


The first bust of the countess was modelled in 1902.When she returned to Paris, in 1907, she posed for him again, this time for longer sittings. After the marble, carved in 1908, Rodin went back to the original bust and had a glass paste version of it made by Jean Cros, son of Henri Cros, who had developed this technique. Other busts or heads – Hanako , Rose Beuret and Camille Claudel – were also translated into this experimental medium.


The introduction of both translucidity and colour modified the work. These investigations were important to Rodin. Like many artists of his day, he explored the possibilities offered by other media, such as stoneware, which enabled him to experiment with colour and textural effects and bring sculpture closer to decorative art.


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