In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Auguste Rodin, “L’Éternel Printemps.”
French sculptor and modern icon Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is among the most recognizable names in the pantheon of art history. Credited with having brought sculpture into the modern age, Rodin’s “Thinker,” “The Gates of Hell,” “The Kiss,” and “The Age of Bronze” might be comparable in influence to Michelangelo’s (1475-1564) “Pieta” or the “Doryphoros” by Polykleitos (circa 5th century BCE).
Born in Paris, France, in 1840, Rodin never endeavored to reject classicism outright, and although the sculptor desired academic recognition, there can be no doubt of his modern expressive genius. Rodin’s originality stemmed from both his craftsman-like approach to sculpting and his preference for psychology, individualism, character, and physicality.
Many of the artist’s works are housed in the greatest public collections around the globe, so the prospect of owning a Rodin original has heads turning, ears perked, and bank accounts steaming. Heading to auction via Sotheby’s “Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale” on May 9 is Rodin’s unimaginable “L’Éternel Printemps” — one of the artist’s most beloved sculptures. Carved from a single piece of flawless marble, two lovers dramatically and romantically embrace. Both subjects are overcome with passion and love. Although the viewer cannot see their faces, the sculpture touches everyone who views it through the theme of love.
The example here is believed to have been number five of 10 known carvings of the subject in marble, and arguably the best. Via Sotheby’s, “Animated by the dazzling play of light on the surface and the sweeping upward movement of the man, the figures seem ready to take flight. As evident in the present work, there is a marked increase in the eroticism of his art and a corresponding growth in the daring movement of the poses which could be a reflection of the artist’s studio practice of allowing the models to move freely and independently.” Collectors wishing to acquire this unparalleled marble will need to post a hefty sum: Auction estimates are between $8 million and $12 million.
To view the full catalogue, visit Sotheby’s.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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