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Petite Figure Accroupie (Small Crouching Figure)
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper mounted to original board
Dimensions: 9 7/8 x 12 3/4" (25 x 32.5 cm)
Conceived and drawn between 1896-1899
This drawing, Petite Figure Accroupie, in watercolour and graphite is particularly rare, both for its visual characteristics and for its historical relevance. Parts of its original board survive, suggesting that Rodin selected it to be part of his Pavillon de l’Alma exhibition in Paris during the 1900 Exposition Universelle.
The Musée Rodin archives confirm that the drawing was shown there. The number 101, which is written in ink on the back, corresponds to the number appearing in the so-called Cahier Gris at the Musée, in which all the drawings shown in the Alma exhibition were registered. The title of the drawing in French, Petite Figure Accroupie, was given by Rodin himself, and corresponds to this number. The stenciled number 188 was mentioned by Eugene Druet, Rodin’s personal photographer at that time, who played an important role in setting up the Alma exhibition.
Two more annotations on the board testify to the drawing’s historical importance. The inscription ‘Mirbeau’ indicates that the drawing was most likely one of those chosen to illustrate the second edition of The Torture Garden by the writer Octave Mirabeu, which was published in 1902 by Ambroise Vollard.
The second annotation ‘Marquardt’ refers to the Berlin editor Eugene Marquardt. This is probably a later inscription, however. In 1906, Eugene Marquardt planned to publish a luxurious book presenting Rodin’s drawings. This not surprising, for Germany had been particularly receptive to the artist’s works on paper since the early 1890s, and Germans had been the foremost buyers of Rodin’s drawings at the 1900 Alma exhibition. Rodin sent drawings to Berlin for reproduction tests and Marquardt purchased some of them, quite possibly this one. The book itself however was never published.
C.Gerschel, Photograph of Octave Mirbeau
A.Rodin, Le Jardin des Supplices (The Torture Gardens), 1902, 32.7 x 25.5cm, Musée Rodin
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