Gary Arseneau - Deception: Are These Really Rodins?


Second, on page 253 in Albert Elsenís "Rodinís "Perfect Collaborator," Henri Lebosse" essay in the National Gallery of Artís 1981 Rodin Rediscovered exhibition catalogue, Stanford Professor and Rodin scholar writes: "From the mid-1890ís until his death, Rodin entrusted most if not all of his important enlargements and reductions to this dedicated and today unknown technician who referred to himself as Rodinís "sculpteur reproducteur habituel." Lebosse wrote the master on January 24, 1903. "I would like to be your perfect collaborator." 

Unfortunately on page 256 of this essay, Albert Elsen documents that Henri Lebosse became one of Auguste Rodinís biggest betrayers. After August Rodinís death in 1917, the Musee Rodin Director Benedite directed Henri Lebosse to increase the original scale of the sculpture "The Defense" four times. Albert Elsen writes:

 "Tragically for Rodinís "perfect collaborator," the Verdun enlargement became part of a 1920 scandal involving fake works, marble carvers who continued to turn out sculpture signed with Rodinís name, and unauthorized bronze casts by the Baredienne foundry." 

On page 289 in the 1981 Rodin Rediscovered exhibition catalogue, Monique Laurent further explains the circumstances behind the 1919 scandal and trial when she writes:

 "As for Philippe Montagutelli, founder, 54, avenue du maine in Paris, who worked in 1912 and 1913 on Clemenceau, France and Carrie-Belleuse, among others, but in September 1913, Rodin challenged him and filed a complaint for counterfeiting. This first affair would be followed in 1918-1919 by a famous trial for fakes and counterfeits in which the sculptor Archilles Fidi of Italian origin, was also implicated." 

Is it obvious that if it makes no difference to the Musee Rodin whether Auguste Rodinís "original plasters" are used for reproducing bronzes, why would Gruppo Mondiale Est. want to make that distinction? 



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