Vase adorned with Putti

Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)

Circa 1879-1882

Charcoal on paper

H. 38.4 cm ; W. 33.1 cm


Rodin worked on several occasions in decorative sculpture studios,where his skills as a draughtsman and modeller were highly appreciated. This decorative design for a vase dates from 1879-82, when Rodin was employed at the Sèvres porcelain factory by Albert Carrier- Belleuse. It may be related to the Vase of the Elements, whose form was invented by Carrier-Belleuse in 1880, but whose decoration was designed and executed by Rodin. In both works, the decoration mixes traditional putti – chubby cherubs at play – with foliated volutes whose dynamic lines structure the composition.


The technique employed in this drawing resembles that of the “black drawings”, which Rodin produced in profusion during this period: through his use of strong contrast, the bright highlights of the reliefs (belly, buttocks, arms and legs of the putti) stand out against the dark background of the vase. A similar effect is found in the “paste-on-paste” relief designs made by Rodin at Sèvres.


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