Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Golden Age

Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
ca. 1878
Black chalk heightened with white on faded blue paper
18 7/16 x 12 in. (46.8 x 30.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1963
Accession Number:
Not on view
Redolent of the eighteenth century in both subject and technique, the drawing reflects Rodin's meticulous training in the traditions of French eighteenth-century draftsmanship under Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran at the École Impériale Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathématiques, now the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. Lecoq de Boisbaudran, who ultimately became the director of the "Petite École" as it was popularly known, strongly opposed the academic training practices that were current at the École des Beaux-Arts in the 1850s.

The title, L'Âge d'Or (The Age of Gold) in Rodin's handwriting (upper right), refers to the Greek myth of the four ages of the world. During the first age, the Age of Gold, human beings were thought to have lived in a perpetual state of youthfulness, happiness, plenty, and peace. The third age, the Age of Bronze, when the first warlike men were thought to die by violence, was the origin of the title of one of Rodin's well-known sculptures.
L'Age d'Or

Signature: In pen and brown ink at upper right corner of recto: "l'âge d'or / A. Rodin"

Inscription: Upper right: "L'Age D'Or" in pen and brown ink

Marking: Printed sticker on verso of heavy board: "MAISON HOMBERT / SEEL SUC.r / 37, Rue Victor Massé / Paris IXe / FABRICANT de CADRES DORES / encadrements artistiques".
Sticker with pen and ink inscription on heavy backing: "Rodin signé / 'L'âge d'or' / mention sur le dessin de la main / de Rodin / Dessin / Provenence / Collection du Graveur Waltener".
Sticker, also on backing bearing No. 104 in blue crayon, in pen and black ink: "No. apposé à l'exposition / Monet Rodin / Fevrier Mars 1941 / à l'orangerie" [sic; exhibition held in 1940 and does not record this drawing].
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Rodin Drawings: True and False," November 20, 1971–January 23, 1972.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Rodin Drawings: True and False," March 9, 1972–May 14, 1972.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Rodin Rediscovered," July 4, 1981–February 4, 1982.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," November 28, 1994–February 5, 1995.

Albert Elsen, J. Kirk T. Varnedoe, Victoria Thorson, Elisabeth Chase Geissbuhler The Drawings of Rodin. Ex. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1971, fig. no. 31, 51, ill.

Albert Elsen "Drawings and the True Rodin." in Artforum. vol. 10, no. 6, February 1972, p. 64, ill.

Rosalyn Frankel Jamison, Daniel Rosenfeld Rodin Rediscovered. (ed,) Albert Elsen, Washington, D.C., 1980, cat. no. 231, fig. no. 7.17, pp.166-167, 331, ill.

Clare Vincent "Rodin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, A History of the Collection." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 38, no. 4, Spring 1981, fig. no. 54.

Rodin: les arts décoratifs. François Blanchetière, 2009, fig. no. 2, pp. 38, 41, ill.

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