A STATUETTE by French sculptor Auguste Rodin that was dubbed “too sexual” 130 years ago but defended by Scots author Robert Louis Stevenson, is expected to fetch up to £700,000 at auction next month.
L’Eternel Printemps (Eternal Spring) is one of Rodin’s most famous works, inspired in 1884 by his passionate love affair with the young sculptor Camille Claudel.
The artist’s work was criticised as too sexual but Stevenson, a close friend of Rodin, publicly rose to his defence.
Rodin gave a plaster cast of L’Eternel Printemps to Stevenson, who kept it close to him until his death.
A 66cm tall bronze of L’Eternel Printemps will lead Bonhams’ Impressionist and Modern Art sale in London on 4 February, when it is estimated to fetch £500,000-700,000.
India Phillips, Bonhams Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, said: “It is a lovely story connecting two of the big figures of the late 19th century from Scotland and France.
“Rodin was quite heavily attacked for Eternal Spring. Robert Louis Stevenson came out in his support. As a thank you Rodin gave him the maquette for the work.
“Stevenson loved it and took it everywhere. He saw it as an example of why Rodin was such a poetic sculptor.”