Auguste Rodolphe de NIEDERHAUSERN known as RODO (1863 - 1913)
The offering to Bacchus ( 1911)
Bronze with Antique green patina
Signed and titled on a naturally treated base
Without founder’s seal
Our bronze is a posthumous edition from the 70s.
One of the most important sculptors from the late 19th century and the early 20th century, Auguste de Niederhäusern, introduced the art of Rodin to Switzerland, he took sculpture classes at the Industrial Arts School and Fien Arts School in Geneva. In 1886, he settled in Paris and began working at the Henri Chapu workshop at the Julian Academy and then in Alexandre Falguière's workshop at the Fine Arts School. From 1892 to 1898, “ Rodo” was one of Auguste Rodin’s collaborators. He exhibited at the French Artist Salon in 1888 and 1889, at the National Society of Fine Art from 1891 to 1913 and the Autumn Salon from 1906. He received a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 and the Legion of Honour in 1912.
In Paris, the sculptor was friends with Paul Verlaine and was linked to the Symbolists and viewed as a non-conformist. During this time Rodo’s work was still unknown: he benefitted from the reputation of Rodin, the support of the majority of Verlaine’s friends, Stéphane Mallarmé (who entrusted the execution of the memory of the monument of the ‘poet maudit’) and of the respect of writers such as Stéphane Mallarmé. Between 1910 and 1913 Guillaume Apollinaire dedicated lines that were full of praise in the work the Intransigeant.
Friends with painters such as Ferdinand Hodler, Cuno Amiet, Giovanni Giacometti, Albert Trachsel, Rodo returned each year to Switerland to participate in exhibitions and in the major competitions for monuments. Between 1898 and 1905, pursued by his Parisian creditors, he mainly lived in Berne and Lausanne.
Nevertheless, swept along by the movement of opinion which saw Hodler as the archetypal “nationalist” artist, Rodo was soon considered in the progressive circles, as the Hodler of sculpture. The museums of Bern, Aarau, Lausanne, Solothurn, Winterthour and Zurich each made one or two purchases.
Niederhäusern acquired a certain fame in Switzerland. But in general, the Helvetian press kept its distance from this artist as it judged his sculptures too "unfinished". Rodo dies poverty stricken and practically sinks into oblivion after the end of the World War I.
The catalogue raisonné of the work of Niederhäusern includes close to 300 works. The first works show the artist attached to the realistic tradition of Aimé-Jules Dalou and Henri Chapu, but particularly sensitive to the ardour of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. After his years working for Rodin, his portraits of Verlaine, and his first model for the Verlaine Monument (1899) show his close relations with Symbolism by the artist’s personal way of integrating the fluidity of feminine forms into big compositions, however in some way deprived by the vegetal flexibility which characterized the searches of most of the artists bound to Symbolism, or Art Nouveau.
The Offering to Bacchus and Adam and Eve (Museum of art and history, Geneva), were exposed for the first time in Paris in 1906, they show Rodo abandoning Symbolism and making way for solid sculpture, still marked by lyricism, but marked above all by the concern « de la forme absolument plastique et personnelle (...) sans littérature» (Autobiographie, 1905)
"by the absolute plastic and personal form (...) without literature" (Autobiography) and by his experience of direct cutting which was at the time innovatory.
Condition report : Very good condition