Gary Arseneau - Deception: Are These Really Rodins?


In the MacLaren Art Centre exhibition checklist they list an "Eternal Spring (1916) bronze" as on loan from the MacKenzie Art Gallery. The MacKenzie Art Galleryís registration documentation for their "bronze" is:

Rodin, Auguste (French 1840-1917)
Eternal Spring, 1917
Bronze 65.4 x 80 x 40 cm
MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection
Gift of Mr. Norman MacKenzie
Assession Number: 1916-4
Signature: base: Rodin on base beneath male outstretched arm
Marks: inside of base VI VI
back side of base stamped BARBEDIENNE Fondeur 

History/Certification: Edition size believed to be approximately 141 [Rodin: Sculpture & Drawings, Catherine Lampert, (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1986), p. 206-207 

Certificate dated 1916 signed by G. Leblance Barbedienne, certifying execution of bronze caste of model supervised by Rodin. 
Purchased from Jules Mogey of Paris. Previously owned by Mogeyís son who was a sculptor, but had been recently killed in World War 1. 

The MacKenzie Art Galleryís documentation for their "Eternal Spring" is confirmed, in part, in the National Gallery of Artís 1981 Rodin Rediscovered exhibition catalogue by the former Musee Rodin curator Monique Laurent. She documents in her essay "Observations on Rodin and his Founders" the foundries that have "cast" lifetime and posthumous reproduction bronzes. On page 289 she writes:

 "Rodin reached an agreement of the same kind for twenty years with the foundry Gustave Leblanc-Barbedienne, which was directed by the nephew of its founder, Ferdinard Barbedienne. Leblanc-Barbedienne thus owned exclusive rights to working of reductions of the Eternal Spring and of The Kiss except for the original size which the obligation to reserve the casting for the same firm." 

"For Eternal Spring, with the reservation of some uncertainties, the division of the castings from 1899 to 1919 is the following: fifty casts with a height of 0.40 meters; sixty-nine examples at 0.23 meters; the 0.52 meter size model did not appear until 1908 and thirty-two cast were made of it up to 1919." 

The MacKenzie Art Galleryís detailed documentation allows any scholar and historian, using other documented and published references, to independently confirm with confidence the "provenance" of this bronze "Eternal Spring." Whether it is technically a "lifetime cast" before Rodinís death on November 17, 1917 or posthumously reproduced sometime before the Barbedienne foundry contract expired in 1919, it may never be known. Though the date of Jules Mogey sonís death in World War 1 would in all probability would nail it down. 



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