Medardo Rosso (1858 -1928)
Laughing Girl also known as Small Laughing Girl
H. 37 cm ; W. 20 cm ; D. 26 cm
Inscribed : Rosso a Rodin.
Medardo Rosso, a sculptor from Milan who settled in Paris between 1885 and 1890, made friends with Eugène Carrière (1849- 1906) and Rodin, before breaking off relations with the latter after his Balzac was unveiled in 1898, when he accused the French sculptor of intellectual theft and plagiary. In 1893, Rosso had exchanged Laughing Girl for the torso known as the Petit-Palais Torso.
The present work is an expressive head, not the portrait of an operetta singer, Bianca Caravaglia, supposedly from Toledo, even if the choice of the model reflected both Rosso’s love of the theatre and a longstanding iconographic tradition. Among the numerous versions, the Musée Rodin bronze highlights the physiognomy through the simplicity of its presentation on an onyx base. Fleeting in essence, laughter modifies the facial features and, helped by the inner and outer light, reveals a different face.This concept fascinated both the artist and his era. Rosso’s characteristic soft, hazy modelling, often compared to Impressionist painting, also conveys these facial dynamics.