French Sculpture Census

photo credit : The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
artist © : public domain | public domain

RODIN, Auguste
Paris 1840 - Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine 1917

practitioner
PETER, Victor
Paris 1840 - Paris 1918

Le Christ et la Madeleine
Christ and Mary Magdalen

modeled c. 1895, carved c. 1908
marble

group
43 x 33 1/2 x 31

Acc. No. : 2014.32
Credit Line : The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California, The J. Paul Getty Museum

www.getty.edu/museum

Provenance

  • 1907, Commissioned by the wealthy industrialist Karl Wittgenstein (1847-1913, father of the famous philosopher Ludwig and pianist Paul) for his collection in Vienna, Austria
  • 1908, The block of marble was bought and the carving was entrusted to Rodin's primary marble carver Victor Peter (1840-1918)
  • 1909, January, The sculpture was completed and sent to Vienna
  • 1909-1913, Vienna, Karl Wittgenstein (1847-1913)
  • 1913-1964, by inheritance, to his oldest son Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961), Vienna
  • 1964, April 19, London, Sotheby's, Paul Wittgenstein Estate Sale, lot 82, sold to Bernardus Marinus Pon
  • 1964-1968, Bernardus Marinus Pon (1904-1968, Dutch, The Netherlands)
  • 1968-1980, by inheritance to his wife, Cornelia Clasina Pon-Parlevliet (1904-1980, Dutch, The Netherlands)
  • 1980-2013, by inheritance to her son, Mr. Pon (Dutch, The Netherlands)
  • 2012-2013, unsold while with art dealers Simonis & Buunk, Ede, The Netherlands
  • 2013, March, Maastricht (The Netherlands), TEFAF, sold by Pieter Hoogendijk, who had it on consignment, to Daniel Katz
  • 2013-2014, London, Daniel Katz Ltd.
  • 2014, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Bibliography

  • Museum's website, accessed December 15, 2016
  • 1977 De Caso and Sanders
    Jacques de Caso and Patricia Sanders, Rodin's Sculpture. A Critical Study of the Spreckels Collection, San Francisco: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1977, p. 94
  • 1996 Le Normand-Romain
    Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Rodin. Les marbres de la collection Thyssen, exh. cat., Paris, musée Rodin, 1996, pp. 80 and 93, ill. p. 92
  • 2007 Le Normand-Romain (français)
    Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, avec la collaboration d'Hélène Marraud et Diane Tytgat, introductions par Dr. Ruth Butler et Mr. Régis Cusinberche, Les Bronzes de Rodin. Catalogue des œuvres au Musée Rodin, 2 volumes, Paris, Musée Rodin / Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2007, œuvre non listée dans ce catalogue mais citée p.148, 273, 468 et 513
  • 2007 Le Normand-Romain (English)
    Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, with the collaboration of Hélène Marraud and Diane Tytgat, introductions by Dr. Ruth Butler and Mr. Régis Cusinberche, The Bronzes of Rodin. Catalogue of works in the Musée Rodin, 2 volumes, English version, Paris, Musée Rodin / Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2007, work not listed in this catalogue but mentioned p.148, 273, 468 et 513
  • 2014 Getty
    The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed., Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015, pp. 318-319, ill.
  • 2014 Rykner
    Didier Rykner, http://www.latribunedelart.com/deux-sculptures-recemment-acquises-par-le-getty, 28 juillet 2014

Exhibition

  • 2014-2015 Los Angeles
    Recent Acquisitions: Auguste Rodin Pietro Tacca, Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, June 10, 2014-March 9, 2015

Related Works

Plaster, c. 1894, in San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Legion of Honor, gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, 1949.
First, and only other, version of this composition commissioned in 1905 by August Thyssen, now in Madrid, Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.

Comment



Museum's website, Dec. 15, 2016:
In this three-and-a-half foot marble sculpture, a dying man nailed to rock is mourned by a naked woman kneeling in front of him. Auguste Rodin titled this piece Christ and Mary Magdalene but he also called it Prometheus and the Oceanid and The Genius and Pity, opening up the composition to multiple biblical, mythical and secular associations. These themes, mixing the sacred and the profane, relate to Rodin's conception of the creative life, which in his view inevitably involved suffering and martyrdom.
The compelling strength of this work results from the stark contrast between the highly polished surfaces of the naked flesh and the surrounding rough-hewn marble. Rodin admired Michelangelo's sculptures during his visit to Florence in 1876 and the artist's influence on Rodin can be seen not only in the unfinished parts of the piece but also in the dramatically contorted female body.
In order to keep up with the high demand for his work, Rodin routinely appointed talented marble carvers to realize his compositions in stone. This sculpture was entrusted to Rodin's primary marble carver Victor Peter, a well-regarded artist himself, though Rodin oversaw the process, even drawing on photographs to indicate how he wanted details altered.
Unlike most of Rodin's works, this sculpture was never cast in bronze and only one other marble version exists.