Teenage Claudel met Rodin in 1883, who was 25 years her senior. She went on to become his student and lover as well as a source of inspiration for the sculptor.

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) Eternel printemps, second état, 1ère réduction Image via Bonhams Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Eternel printemps, second état, 1ère réduction
Image via Bonhams

Rodin conceived L'Eternel Printemps in 1884 and the bronze version to be sold at Bonhams was executed in 1898, with the present work cast between 1905 and 1907. Alongside The Kiss and The Thinker, L'Eternel Printemps is one of Rodin's most acclaimed works. Although Claudel and Rodin maintained their relationship as she continued to sit for him, they parted ways in 1898, as Rodin refused to leave the mother of his son, Rose Beuret.

Originally, the sculpture was exhibited under the titles of Cupidon et Psyché and Zéphyr et la Terre, no doubt to conceal its risqué subject matter. The piece was commissioned in 1880 by the Directorate of Fine Arts in Paris for "La Porte de l'Enfer" (The Gates of Hell) at the Musée d'Orsay.

Bonhams' Impressionist & Modern Art sale will take place on 4th February, 2016, London.

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