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Gustav Mahler

European Art

Alma Mahler, wife of the Viennese composer Gustav Mahler (1860–1911), provided this account of Rodin’s working methods in her recollection of her husband’s sitting for this portrait in 1909:

His method was unlike that of any other sculptor I have had the opportunity of watching. He first made flat surfaces in the rough lump, and then added little pellets of clay which he rolled between his fingers while he talked. He worked by adding to the lump instead of subtracting from it. As soon as we left he smoothed it all down and next day added more. I scarcely ever saw him with a tool in his hand.

  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1909; cast between 1910–1914
    DIMENSIONS 13 3/8 x 11 x 9 3/4 in. (34.0 x 27.9 x 24.8 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Back, on neck: ALEXIS RUDIER/FONDEUR.PARIS/2eme Epreuve
    SIGNATURE Proper left shoulder and on interior plate: "A. Rodin"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917). Gustav Mahler, 1909; cast between 1910–1914. Bronze, 13 3/8 x 11 x 9 3/4 in. (34.0 x 27.9 x 24.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.10. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.10_transp6243.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 22.10_transp6243.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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