Are you a fan of art and do you wish to collect timeless pieces that will last a lifetime? As announced by Visit Bucharest Today, Auguste Rodin’s “The Kiss” is auctioned in Bucharest.
A version of “The Kiss,” a sculpture by Auguste Rodin, one of the most iconic figures in the history of sculpture, will be auctioned off for the first time ever in Romania at the Spring Auction 2023, which also marks the 500th anniversary of the A10 by Artmark Auction House’s sales. The Kiss, a well-known modern art masterpiece with a starting price of €80,000, is part of a famous Romanian officer’s historical collection from the royal army.
The love story between Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, two figures from Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy,” who were discovered kissing by Francesca’s husband, killed, and sentenced to an eternity in hell, served as the inspiration for the creation of one of the most famous sculptures in history.
The French Ministry of Culture commissioned Rodin to create “The Kiss” in marble for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889 after he had previously tested numerous versions and positions of the topic since 1882. (initially as a relief of the monumental sculpture of the Gates of Hell). With the aid of Emile Leblanc Barbedienne, Rodin subsequently recalibrated the now-famous sculpture in various height variations and cast it in bronze in numerous examples, one of which will be presented in the 2023 Spring Anniversary Auction.
The majority of the pieces are housed in significant museums of art throughout the globe, and some of those that were in private collections were recently auctioned off for hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros. For instance, in 2018, one of the top auction houses in the UK was able to sell a reduced bronze specimen for at least €14 million (thus increasing the value of all other specimens held in private collections). The Auguste Rodin Committee recently issued a certificate of authenticity for the item in Bucharest that is currently up for an auction; it accurately identifies the specimen and states that the find will soon be included in the new edition of the Auguste Rodin Resonated Catalogue (Catalogue Critique de l’oeuvre Sculpté d’Auguste Rodin). The item is currently located in Bucharest and is up for auction.
An important mention must be made of the few private Romanian collections in which important masterpieces of European culture have appeared and, from time to time, despite the fate of the Communist period confiscations, continue to appear, proving the same resilience that only books, characters and ideas have professed. A vision of genius, denoting great culture and refinement – at the time of the acquisition of the work, followed by the exceptional endurance of the collection, first in wartime and then in the frictions of the communist state, and finally a conjuncture of opportunity for the release of the work for sale on the market, briefly describe the three essential moments of an entire century spent in the collection of the family of the officer Nicolae Ionescu, who owned the Rodin sculpture in Bucharest. Colonel Nicolae Ionescu, an officer in the royal army, belonged to a wealthy family from Prahova, who owned vineyards and oil wells in the Prahova Valley (Urlați), related to the Macovei family (owners of vineyards in Odobești) and Constantin Vișoianu (former Romanian Foreign Minister during the Second World War), and probably acquired the sculpture by Rodin between 1906 and 1910. It should be noted that in Romania, bronzes by Rodin, cast by him during his lifetime, rarely appeared in collections, but always in collections of Romanian personalities of the beginning of the century, such as Queen Elisabeta or the politician Ioan Kalinderu (bought by him for the Kalinderu Museum, with the support of the Eustațiadis legacy, today in the collection of the National Museum of Art).
As a corollary to the story of this exceptional exhibition, one might, for example, refer to the Rodin from the collection of Queen Elizabeth, composition in the March 29 auction from the collection of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Queen Mary and future Queen of Greece: Watercolour „View of Dobrogea” by the artist Cecilia Cuțescu-Storck, bearing the Princess’s cipher on the reverse and which took part in the „Artistic Youth” exhibition in 1916 (starting price €900). As well as, in relation to the Parisian model of our art school, for example, a rare painting signed by Alexandru Ciucurencu, painted by him around 1930, in his first creative youth, when he was studying in Paris with the great modernist Andre Lhote, the original representative of cubism (starting price €12,000).
„The Kiss” is not the only famous sculpture in the March 29 auction. Alongside the work by French master Auguste Rodin, the Spring Auction also features the bronze sculpture „Archer at Rest” by Ion Jalea, with a starting price of €5,000. The original stone version of „The Archer”, sculpted in 1926, is in front of the „Ion Jalea” Museum in Constanța, and another version of the work was bought by the Romanian state and used as a standard-bearer for the main international exhibitions promoting Romanian art, which took place in the 1930s and 1940s in Paris, Barcelona, Oslo, Zurich and Amsterdam.
„Spring Auction. The 500th Anniversary Auction (Part I)” will take place on Wednesday, 29 March, 19:00, at the InterContinental Athénée Palace, „Regina Maria” Hall, gathering 151 works of art signed by the Great Masters of Romanian Art: Nicolae Grigorescu, Nicolae Tonitza, Camil Ressu, Gheorghe Petrașcu, Nicolae Dărăscu, Samuel Mutzner, Constantin Piliuță, Iosif Iser or Horia Bernea. The exhibition of masterpieces is open to the general public at the Cesianu-Racoviță Palace, C.A. Rosetti Street, from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 20:00.