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La Duchesse de Choiseul

Bust
1908 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Claire Coudert (1864-1919) was the eldest daughter of a well-known New York lawyer, Charles Coudert. The family was originally French but moved to America in 1824. She married the Marquis (later Duc) de Choiseul in 1891 and moved to France. She enjoyed a close friendship with Rodin from about 1904 until he ended their relationship in 1912. Before then, she had dominated many aspects of his life, cutting him off from his friends and relations and taking control of his business dealings, especially with the U.S.A. She was responsible for introducing Rodin to the American millionaire Thomas Ryan, who was instrumental in introducing his work to the USA. (See Museum no. A.48-1914). In effect, the Duchess became Rodin's agent, conducting negotiations with potential buyers.
Both this portrait and its companion (Museum no. A.45-1914) are close studies of an intimate friend. They were not commissioned and have a great informalilty and vitality. Rodin was able to observe and draw the Duchess in a very natural way, capturing her lively personality. In this earlier version she is pensive, with her head to one side, unlike the later version where she smiles. In both versions, hair springs up unusually from her forehead; Marcelle Tirel, employed by Rodin at the time, reported that Rodin noticed she wore false hair. These are amongst the most intimate and informal of all Rodin's portraits.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bronze
Brief Description
Bronze bust of the Duchesse de Choiseul by Auguste Rodin, cast by Montagutelli Frères, Paris, France, 1908
Physical Description
Bronze bust of the Duchesse de Choiseul.
Dimensions
  • Perspex base width: 36cm
  • Perspex base depth: 25cm
  • Perspex base height: 2.5cm
  • Excluding base height: 32.5cm
  • Excluding base depth: 21cm
  • Excluding base width: 33cm
Credit line
Given by Rodin in November 1914
Subjects depicted
Summary
Claire Coudert (1864-1919) was the eldest daughter of a well-known New York lawyer, Charles Coudert. The family was originally French but moved to America in 1824. She married the Marquis (later Duc) de Choiseul in 1891 and moved to France. She enjoyed a close friendship with Rodin from about 1904 until he ended their relationship in 1912. Before then, she had dominated many aspects of his life, cutting him off from his friends and relations and taking control of his business dealings, especially with the U.S.A. She was responsible for introducing Rodin to the American millionaire Thomas Ryan, who was instrumental in introducing his work to the USA. (See Museum no. A.48-1914). In effect, the Duchess became Rodin's agent, conducting negotiations with potential buyers.

Both this portrait and its companion (Museum no. A.45-1914) are close studies of an intimate friend. They were not commissioned and have a great informalilty and vitality. Rodin was able to observe and draw the Duchess in a very natural way, capturing her lively personality. In this earlier version she is pensive, with her head to one side, unlike the later version where she smiles. In both versions, hair springs up unusually from her forehead; Marcelle Tirel, employed by Rodin at the time, reported that Rodin noticed she wore false hair. These are amongst the most intimate and informal of all Rodin's portraits.
Bibliographic References
  • Hawkins, Jennifer, Rodin Sculptures, London: Victoria and Albert, 1975, p.31, ill.34.
  • Mitchell, Claudine. The Gift to the British Nation: Rodin at the V&A. In: Mitchell, Claudine. ed. Rodin: The Zola of Sculpture. Henry Moore Institute, 2003. pp. 183-200.
  • Alley, R. Tate Gallery Catalogue: Foreign Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture. London, 1959. p. 220.
  • Lampert, Catherine, Rodin, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 2006
Collection
Accession Number
A.46-1914

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record createdAugust 31, 2004
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