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Femme Nue a la Jambe Droite Soulevée (Nude Woman Raising her Right Leg)
Graphite, stump, watercolour and gouache on watermarked laid paper
Dimensions: 7 x 4 1/2" (17.7 x 11.5 cm)
Conceived and drawn between 1890-1895
This drawing shows all the quintessential characteristics of Rodin’s ‘transitional’ work as a draughtsman, which dates between 1890 and 1896. Such characteristics were highlighted for the first time by Kirk Varnedoe (1946-2003) – the foremost 20th century expert in Rodin’s drawings – namely the use of two primary colours, yellow and pink, and paying the foremost attention to the depiction of his models’ flesh and hair.
The drawing was probably not done from life, but rather copied from a rapid sketch which was then used as an under-drawing. The face, the silhouette of the body and the white drape running from the woman’s hair to her right hand have been heightened with black pencil, thus highlighting the contrast with the smooth quality of the model’s skin and the delicate definition of breasts and thighs.
This ‘transitional’ drawing is representative of the desire to experiment with techniques and media on paper in the first half of the 1890s. Yet, the term can lead to misinterpretation. While these drawings inform the ‘transition’ between Rodin’s ‘Black Drawings’ period and his more mature language of 1900-1917, such an experimentation was fundamental for the development of the artist’s later career. More specifically, in 1899, Rodin submitted a transitional drawing as the frontispiece for Octave Mirabeau’s Garden of Tortures. This work, finished in pink and yellow watercolour, shows that this style was of primary importance for Rodin even later in his career.
A.Rodin, Le Jardin des Supplices (The Torture Gardens), 1902, 32.7 x 25.5cm, Musée Rodin
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