Sotheby's New York is to star three Auguste Rodin bronzes on May 7, including a rare, early cast of the French artist's most famous sculpture, Le Penseur (The Thinker).
Renowned as an icon of art history, the 1906 composition remains among the most celebrated sculptures ever created. Estimated to be worth $8m-12m, Le Penseur derives from Rodin's most ambitious project, La Porte de l'Enfer (The Gates of Hell), inspired by Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy.
Le Penseur formed the crowning apex of La Porte de l'Enfer, which was made up of over 200 different figures and groups. The early cast on offer was made by the Alexis Rudier foundry in Paris.
Commissioned by publishing magnate Ralph Pulitzer in 1906, the cast bears a plaque that affirms it was made for Pulitzer under Rodin's direct supervision.
There are 28 known original casts of the work in existence.
Le Baiser (The Kiss) and Ugolin et ses enfants (Ugolin and His Children) are also to cross the block. Each is estimated to be worth between $800,000 and $1.2m.
Sotheby's Simon Shaw comments: "It is a pleasure to present such extraordinary casts in an increasingly sophisticated market, where distinctions of casting quality, patination, date and provenance are readily appreciated by collectors."
Rodin casts have previously performed well at auction. His "broken-nose" bronze brought £217,250 ($340,367) to Bonhams London in February 2013, while a comparable Le Penseur cast sold for $2.3m in December 2012.
While owning a Rodin bronze may be out of the reach of the vast majority of collectors, million dollar-grossing artists' autographs and letters sell for a fraction of the price of their artworks. We currently have this Picasso autographed postcard for sale for just £3,950 (approximately $6,050).
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