On 30th May, Artcurial
will offer at auction Andromède, a rare Rodin marble sculpture with an extraordinary history. The long lost masterpiece, in the same familly for over 130 years, is estimated between 800,000 - 1,200,000.
In 1888, Chilean diplomat Carlos Morla Vicuña commissioned a marble bust of his young wife, Luisa, from Auguste Rodin.
The same year, the sculpture is exhibited at the annual Salon National des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It is so well received that the French State requests to purchase it for the Musée du Luxembourg. Carlos Morla Vicuña agrees to transfer the bust of his wifeas a gesture of friendship for France. Today, it can be admired at the Musée d'Orsay.
In thanks for their kind gesture, August Rodin presents the Chilean couple with the sculpture Andromède (1887). A white marble figure depicting a naked young woman, draped over a rock, one of the most beautiful examples of a modern and sensual transposition of an ancient myth in Rodin's work.
In the 1930's, Georges Grappe, first curator of the Musée Rodin, mentions that the sculpture was surely still in possession of the Morla family. After that, the sculpture was no longer mentioned
Passed down from generation to generation, the masterpiece remained within the same family, until it was rediscovered in 2017 by Artcurial teams.
Three of the other four examples of the sculpture are currently exhibited in important museum institutions such as the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, the Musée Rodin in Paris and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires.
The Morla copy is the most accomplished in its naturalist transcription.
"Rediscovering this Rodin marble 130 years after its creation is truly an event! In the 1930's, Georges Grappe, first curator of the Rodin museum mentioned the hypothesis that Andromède was doubtlessly still in the possession of the Morla family, but without any certitude. Since then, all trace of the sculpture was lost
" --Bruno Jaubert, Associate Director Artcurial Modern Art Department
"Andromède was awaiting us! This was the moving and rare emotion we felt when we rediscovered this major work by Rodin, preciously kept in the same family from generation to generation for all these years
" --Stéphane Aubert, Associate Director Autioneer, Artcurial