“Nature daily wounds me with its arrows”. These words by Auguste Rodin capture the inner feeling that prompted the master to turn to drawing at the pinnacle of his career.
The exhibition of 135 drawings that opened on 1 October 1909 at the Devambez Gallery, following the success of the previous year, reflected the highly disciplined observation of nature and the female form that the master imposed upon himself in the “little Louis XIII château”, as he called the hôtel Byron.
Devambez undertook to interpret this fascinating “formal discipline” whose centre was Nature itself: the Rodin exhibition articulated, in an astonishingly modern way, drawing, sculpture and photography, all three interacting in space.
Eve and the Serpent was exhibited for the second time, with five large photographs of the famous Balzac and six older illustrations of Dante’s Inferno.
All around were arranged the countless facets of the theatre of life: Ulysses and the Cariatids, the tired Bacchant and the Oracle, and the Cambodian dancers who had fascinated Rodin and scandalized Parisian polite society when they performed at the Pré Catalan theatre.
Exposition de dessins d’Auguste Rodin, exhibition catalogue, galerie Devambez, Paris, 1-16 October 1909, Devambez, Paris, 1909