In the United States, excitement for a Rodin at auction

Removed from a grave because it was becoming too famous, a work by the French sculptor was put up for auction in Philadelphia and sparked controversy.

An unfinished Rodin, adorning a tomb in Virginia, is in the headlines in the United States. On December 20, the New York Times revealed that the descendants of Elizabeth Musgrave Merrill (1853-1928), buried there, had resolved to auction this mold of Mother to child, an order never completed by Auguste Rodin, who died in 1917. The reason invoked? The growing notoriety of the work, long anonymous in the spans of the cemetery of the old Confederate city of Middelburg, 70 km west of Washington, but mentioned by actress Jane Fonda in her blog in 2013 and more and more more frequented by onlookers.

The risk of theft does not suffer discussion: this type of crime is commonplace across the Atlantic and concerns experts. But the choice of the Merrill heirs to put the work up for sale seems much less defensible, this kind of move generally benefiting public cultural spaces.

“All this goes against the original intentions” of the family…

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