The Walking Man originated from one of Auguste Rodin’s early successes, his life-size Saint John the Baptist Preaching of 1878. Rodin made separate plaster studies of the sculpture’s components, and much later he returned to the legs of the Baptist, grafting onto them a torso from another composition. In 1900 he exhibited a half-life-size version of this work in plaster, and it made a deep impression on younger artists, notably Henri Matisse. The bronze cast of The Walking Man deliberately preserves the raw stages of artistic creation while elevating the fragmentary and unfinished to a new aesthetic plane.
Signed in model on base; signature plate welded under base
Alexis Rudier Foundry, Paris
H.: 84.1 cm (33 1/8 in.)
Bequest of A. James Speyer
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J. A. Schmoll, “Zur Genesis des Torso-Motivs und zur Deutung des fragmentarischen Stil bei Rodin,” Das Unvollendete als Kunstlerischen Form; ein Symposion (Bern: Francke, 1959), p. 131, fig. 55.
Leo Steinberg, “Introduction,” Auguste Rodin (1840–1917): An Exhibition of Sculptures and Drawings (New York: Charles E. Slatkin Galleries, 1963).
Albert E. Elsen, The Partial Figure in Modern Sculpture: From Rodin to 1969 (Baltimore Museum of Art, 1969), pp. 18–19, no. 60.
John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin, The Collection of the Rodin Museum (Philadelphia: David R. Godine and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976), pp. 357–69.
Jacques de Caso and Patricia B. Sanders, Rodin’s Sculpture, A Critical Study of the Spreckels Collection, California Palace of the Legion of Honor (Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 1977), pp. 78–80.
Ruth Butler, “Rodin and the Paris Salon,” Rodin Rediscovered, edited by Albert E. Elsen (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1981), pp. 38-44.
H. W. Janson, 19th Century Sculpture (Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1985), pp. 200-02.
Joan Vita Miller and Gary Marotta, Rodin: The B. Gerald Cantor Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986), pp. 134-39.
Michael Brenson, “Rodin’s Heroic Figures in an Analytic Age,” New York Times (August 23, 1987), p. 27-28.
Ian Wardropper, “Collecting European Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago,” Apollo 154, 475 (September 2001).
The Art Institute of Chicago, “Rodin: Sculptor and Storyteller,” November 3, 2017 to March 4, 2018, in the Maurice and Muriel Fulton Gallery 246
A. James Speyer (d. 1986), Chicago, by 1986; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1987.
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