AUGUSTE RODIN (1840-1917)
La Femme accroupie, grand modèle,
34 x 24 x 20 in (61 x 86 x 51 cm)
Markings: Inscribed A. Rodin, © by Musée Rodin, numbered, dated and stamped with foundry mark
Other casts: Munich, Neue Pinokothek; Essen, Folkwang Museum; Philadelphia, Rodin Museum
Traditionally dated to 1881-1882, La Femme accroupie was one of the figures modelled at a very early stage for La Porte de l'Enfer, in which she appears twice. She can be seen on the right pilaster, together with L'Homme qui tombe, forming the group Je suis belle, and again on the right of Le Penseur, slightly modified so as to be assembled to a variation of La Martyre.
This figure reveals the influence of Michelangelo and has been compared to his Crouching Boy (in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), which Rodin may have known through a reproduction. A powerful impression of sensuality emerges from this hunched-over figure. The back is a splendid example of anatomy, reflecting all the vigor and attention to living nature that is so typical of Rodin. Breaking away from the Renaissance tradition, the sculpture of a human figure no longer needs a justficaction other than its own expressiveness. Rodin frequently returned to this figure and reused it in several assemblages, presenting it at several exhibitions around the turn of the century. It was around 1900 that he decided to have it enlarged; the first large-scale bronze, exhibited at the Salon d'Automne of 1909, was acquired by the French state.