A newly discovered Rodin? Or 'a complete fiction'?

October 31 2011

Image of A newly discovered Rodin? Or 'a complete fiction'?

Picture: AFP

An art expert and sculptor has claimed that this curious little silver statue (22.5cm tall) is the work of Rodin, perhaps the greatest sculptor of the modern age. Bought in a French flea market in the 1980s, the work has no signature, no foundry marks, and does not appear in any documentation linking it to Rodin. But in a flamboyant presentation to the French press today, Gilles Perrault presented a 60 page dossier claiming the piece is undoubtedly by Rodin. 

As is increasingly the case these days, 'scientific analysis' has been used to shore up the claims. From AFP:

In particular he focused on the subject's hands -- the spacing between the fingers -- on its highly-stylised feet, and on the folds of the draping, which he argues are typical of Rodin.

"Back then," Perrault explained, "Rodin was at odds with the whole establishment, he was the only sculptor who used fabric covered with plaster or wax."

Analysis uncovered microscopic traces left by the plastered fabric on the statuette, he said, along with minute grooves similar to ones found on a Rodin work in memory of the writer Honore de Balzac.

However, the Rodin Museum in Paris has doubts. 

"We are very, very sceptical, in the absence of documents referring to the existence of such a silver statuette, or to any other works that relate to it," said its asset curator Aline Magnien, contacted earlier this week.

"This work has no pedigree," she said. "Gilles Perrault has created a fiction."

See a more detailed photo here.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.