H. de Roos - Towards a catalog of the Maclaren collection

A discussion with Gary Arseneau and Dr David Schaff (14)

Were Lifetime Plasters Ever Signed?

Even Arseneau´s referral to Monique Laurent , quoted by him to prove Rodin did not sign his bronzes himself, rather supports Schaff´s point of view:

In referring to Auguste Rodin’s lifetime practice of signing his bronzes, on page 22 of the former Musee Rodin curator Monique Laurent’s 1988 RODIN book, she states: 

“Most of the bronzes are stamped with the artist’s signature (copied from an example supplied by him and also with the stamp of the foundry). Some, although perfectly authentic, are unsigned. But there is no question of any of them being numbered or dated; these are modern methods, linked with notion of rarity and speculation in art.” 

This documentation directly confirms that during Auguste Rodin’s lifetime he authorized his "signature" to be stamped on his bronzes. So once Auguste Rodin died in 1917, the State of France would have the "right of reproduction" to his art but would anyone other than Auguste Rodin have the right to posthumously apply his signature? 

[From: Gary Arseneau, Deception - Are These Really Rodins?
Presentation at the Toronto Symposium, 6 Nov. 2001. p. 21]

Arseneau values the fact Rodin did not personally incise his name in lifetime bronze casts as evidence that any "A. Rodin" signature appearing on the MacLaren plasters must be deceptive and counterfeit:

Aside for a confession from anyone who would directly know, how can you "date" these plasters?

DEFINITIVE INFORMATION 1) In Dr. Schaff's "Declaration(s) of Authenticity" for the "Large Thinker", "Eve", "Age of Bronze" and "Eternal Spring" plasters, copies of which I have in my possession, all state: "signed A Rodin." As I document on page 21 of my presentation, the former Musee Rodin curator Monique Laurent, in her 1988 "Rodin" book, states: "Most of the bronzes are stamped with the artist's signature (copied from an example supplied by him and also with the stamp of the foundry." If this "definitive" Musee Rodin source documents that Auguste Rodin did not, in majority, sign his bronzes when alive, why has Dr. Schaff failed to document in his written '"declarations" irrefutable evidence that these "plasters" were actually "signed' by hand of Auguste Rodin? The answer is as Dr. Schaff states in his "declarations: "In {his} opinion."

[From: Letter from Gary Arsenerau to the author, 26 Dec. 2001]


The answer to Arseneau´s question is simple: Dr. Schaff failed to document evidence that these plasters were actually signed by hand of Auguste Rodin, because Dr Schaff never meant to say these plasters were actually signed this way. On the contrary, Dr Schaff´s thesis is that already during Rodin´s lifetime, such signatures as a rule were applied to the plasters with a stamp or cachet, or were traced into the bronze by the foundry men, imitating a given example of Rodin´s signature:

Similarly, the study of the handwriting of his signatures hardly allows the assignment of a (bronze) cast to one or another period since the signatures were traced by the founders and not by the artist himself."

[Monique Laurent, Observations on Rodin and his Founders, in Elsen, p. 292 ]

The question that should occupy us more is, why only two of the MacLaren plasters are mentioned by Schaff as having  "dedications and signatures inscribed in the plaster with a stylus by Rodin". Does that mean all the other studio or presentation casts mentioned (the large Eve plaster, The Study for the Danaid, The Shade (first version), The Walking Man Torso, and Eternal Spring, for example) would show signatures resulting from stamps?

For settling such remaining signature questions,  the issue should be examined more closely than I am
able to do here.

Je suis belle, plaster, exposed as Nr. 18  in the 1889 exhibition Monet-Rodin, signed at the base with an extract from Baudelaire´s poem "De Profundis Clamavi". Part of Rodin´s 1916 donation,
Musée Rodin Inv. Nr. S. 1292. From: Monet-Rodin, Centenaire d´exposition de 1889, organized by Jacques Vilain, Musée Rodin





Advanced Search and Search Rules

Advanced Search & Search Rules

Terms of Use  Copyright Policy    Menu missing?  Back one page  Reload this page   Top of this page 

Notice: Museum logos appear only as buttons linking to Museum Websites and do not imply any
formal approval of RODIN-WEB pages by these institutions. For details see Copyright Policy.
© Copyright 1992 - September 2003 for data collection & design by Hans de Roos - All Rights Reserved.
Last update of this page: 17.09.2003