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    Rodin – Le Penseur at Sotheby’s in New York in May.  UPDATE: THIS MADE $15,285,000.

    An early cast of Auguste Rodin’s Le Penseur from 1906 is a highlight at Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 7.  It is one of three bronzes from Rodin’s masterpiece The Gates of Hell, one of the most celebrated sculptures ever created, and is estimated at $8-12 million.

    Commissioned in 1880 and inspired by Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy, the monumental portal known as La Porte de l’Enfer is the defining project of Rodin’s career.  It occupied him for 37 years. Many of his greatest works derive from it. Where The Thinker represents the head, or reason The Kiss is a canonical image of the heart. Originally intended for the left side of The Gates of Hell, the work portrays another scene from Dante’s Inferno: the ill-fated lovers Paolo and Francesca, shown in a passionate embrace. The cast of Le Baiser on offer in May was made in April 1909 and is estimated at $800,000-1.2 million.  Ugolin et ses enfants was cast only three times during Rodin’s lifetime. On offer is the first of these, dating from 1883 and estimated at $800,000-1.3 million.

    Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, commented: “We are privileged to offer three of the finest sculptures by Rodin to appear at auction in recent years, on behalf of perhaps the finest private collection of his work. It is a pleasure to present such extraordinarycasts in an increasingly sophisticated market, where distinctions of casting quality, patination, date and provenance are readily appreciated by collectors.”

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