RODIN´s work in public auctions

Since details of Museum transactions and purchases by private collectors are rarely disclosed, the results of public auctions are the most important indicator of market value of art works. Already during Rodin´s lifetime, the prices for his work increased considerably, as he grew more famous. A wealthy public from the New World began to collect his work and wanted to have its portrait made by the Master. After Rodin´s death, prices for his work have increased enormously, even after an allowance for inflation. An example:

The article by Monique Laurent in the 1981 Washington catalog shows us an invoice of 10 Oct. 1897 made up by the François Rudier Foundry.  The total foundry costs for a life-size cast of Eve,  were geven wit FF 4,700. Converted to FF of the year 2000, this would have been:

FF 4,700 X 20.277 = FF 95,300

On 8 or 9 Nov. 1999, this 1897 Eve bronze cast (première épreuve) was auctioned for a record price  at Christie´s:

Yet another European dealer hit a Rodin auction record for Eve. The 68 1/8 inches bronze sculpture with brown patina was conceived in 1880-81, cast in 1897 by François Rudier, and inscribed "A. Rodin" and "Premiere Épreuve" on the base. The Rodin was formerly owned by Auguste Pellerin (1852-1929) of Paris, whose famed Cézanne collection has been auctioned in groups over the last few years by Christie's.


BBC News mentions us the exact price Eve achieved:


1 FF
of the year

is worth in FF of the year 2000

or in Euro as of










Eve, cast 1897 by
François Rudier

At the same Christie's auction, an Auguste Rodin sculpture fetched $4,842,500, a new record
for the artist. The previous highest price for a Rodin - best known for his 1880 masterpiece
Le Penseur (The Thinker) - was $3,552,500 for his work, Balzac.


In 1897, the sales price for the Eve cast may have been ca. FF 10,000 -12,000 (in 1906 - 1907, Rodin accepted FF 14,000 - 15,000 as a "friendly price" for his enlarged Thinker casts). 
After correction for inflation: ca. FF 200,000 - 240,000 in Francs of the year 1999.
On 10 November 1999, when Christie´s auction was over, the FF - US$ crossrate was at FF 6.20/$. This means the 1999 auction price in French Francs has been appr. FF 30 Million.

For collectors and scholars trying to assess the value of Rodin works in their collection, an overview of current auction results for comparable works is indispensable. With the help of Internet research, I have been able to trace some recent transactions, but to do this on a regular basis would be a full-time job. With the help of the ARTPRICE™ database, it is possible to track auction results for a large number of artists.




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