The Prodigal Son
12 Nov 1840 - 17 Nov 1917
Georges Rudier Fondeur
Were it not for its palpable bodily presence, this moving bronze might almost seem a manifestation of pure spirit. Flame-like and quavering, the supplicant seems already to have passed beyond filial remorse to paternal absolution. Rodin's pre-emption of symbolist and expressionist imperatives is patent in the work. Unarguably the greatest sculptor of the early modern period - it is almost impossible to call him a nineteenth-century figure - Rodin was also among the most prolific. His Paris studio was large and active, and the French master himself a worker of formidable muscularity. Rodin's reputation for genius, cultivated in part by the artist himself, is justified by the extraordinary variety of his invention and the ardour he brought to even the smallest project. 'The prodigal son' characterises Rodin's quest for the life-force within the human form.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
139.5 x 76.2 x 71.1 cm
Signature & date
Signed top of base, incised "A.Rodin". Not dated.
William Farnsworth Bequest Fund 1979
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 13 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, Sydney, 1981, 27 (colour illus.).
David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Fine and decorative art, 1978, (illus.). cat.no. 1
J. de Caso and P. Sanders, Rodin sculpture, a critical study of the Spreckels Coll, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1977, 159-163 (illus.). cat.no. 24
Renee Free, Art and Australia, 'European Acquisitions: 1972-83', pg. 63-67, Sydney, Spring 1984, 66, 74, 76 (illus.).
Renée Free, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'European Art', pg. 27-36, Sydney, 1981, 27 (colour illus.), 30. cat.no. 1
P. Gsell, L'Art et les artistes, 1906-1907, 406, 402 (illus.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 47 (colour illus.).
E.H. Ramsden, Twentieth century sculpture, London, 1949, 126.
Auguste Rodin, Art, London, 1912, 30-31.
S. Story, Rodin, London, 1939, 146 (illus.). plate no. 69-71
Athena C. Tacha, Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, 1964, 23-39.
Athena C. Tacha, Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, Autumn 1969, 25.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Catalogue of Sculpture by Rodin, London, 1925, IV (illus.), 13.