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Oil painting - Auguste Rodin
  • Auguste Rodin
    Lavery, John Sir, born 1856 - died 1941
  • Enlarge image

Auguste Rodin

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    London (painted)

  • Date:

    1913 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lavery, John Sir, born 1856 - died 1941 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the artist

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 21, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries

Physical description

Life-size three-quarter length profile portrait turning to the spectator's left. The sculptor is attired in dark garments and rests his right arm on a table (?).

Place of Origin

London (painted)


1913 (painted)


Lavery, John Sir, born 1856 - died 1941 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'J Lavery'
Signed by the artist in the lower right-hand corner

'Auguste Rodin
John Lavery
1912 [date altered to 1913]'
Written in capitals on the back of the canvas, presumably by the artist


Height: 60 in, Width: 40.125 in

Object history note

Given by the artist, 1914

Historical significance: John Lavery (1856-1941) was one of the leading portrait painters of his day. He studied in Glasgow and from 1881 at the Academie Julian in Paris, where he was influenced by the French plein-air painter Jules Bastien-Lepage.

Lavery exhibited at the major European salons, and was honoured with a one-man exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1910. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1911, and a full Academician in 1921. He painted formal portraits of the royal family in 1911, and his sitters included many important social and political figures. According to Lavery, he painted this portrait of the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin during a fortnight in 1913 when Rodin was in London.

In November 1914, Rodin gave 18 of his sculptures to the V&A in honour of the French and British soldiers killed in the war. Most of the works were bronzes, but there was also one marble and one terracotta. This group of works is unique in public collections, having been personally selected and given by Rodin himself. On the 11th of November, 1914, The Times newspaper wrote:

'The gift of sculpture which M. Rodin has made to the British Nation is a piece of generosity without parallel. Others have given precious collections of works to art to England and other nations, but this gift is all the work of the man who bestows it, and it is the work of the greatest artist living in the world. Further, he gives it as a sign of brotherhood between his people and ours, and as a token of his admiration of our soldiers. Coming as it does at this momentous crisis in the history of Europe, it will be remembered through future ages as a monument of that crisis, and of that brotherhood which M. Rodin wishes to commemorate. There are very few artists in the whole history of art who could make a gift worthy of such an occasion, but M. Rodin is one of them - one with Michelangelo and Donatello, and with the earlier masters of Greece.'

A note on file from 1914 reads: 'Mr J. Lavery, A.R.A., has presented to the Victoria and Albert Museum the portrait which he painted last year of Auguste Rodin. He wishes the gift to be regarded as a tribute to Rodin from British Art. It is designed to reciprocate the sentiments which inspired Rodin to make his magnificent gift of sculpture to the Victoria and Albert Museum, in admiration of the heroism of the French and British soldiers who are fighting at this moment side by side. The portrait is almost full length, with the head in profile. It has been placed for exhibition on a screen beside the Rodin sculpture in the West Hall (48) of the Museum.'

Descriptive line

Oil painting, portrait of Auguste Rodin by John Lavery (1856-1941), 1913


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted



Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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