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Rodin “Eternal Spring” Bronze, ca. 1900 | Extraordinary Finds: Extras | ANTIQUES ROADSHOW | PBS

Worth IN 2016. The most amazing piece showed up at my table. GUEST: It was my father’s
great-aunt’s sculpture and when she died it came to my grandmother,
and when my grandmother died it came to my father, and he has since giving it to
me. APPRAISER: And you know the artist? GUEST: Rodin. Auguste Rodin, I didn’t want to mess up his name. APPRAISER: Right and you know the title? GUEST: It’s “Eternal Spring.” APPRAISER: I see lots of sculpture
by Rodin and artists like Remington at every Roadshow, they’re all fakes and
reproductions. When I first saw this one I was skeptical about whether or not it
was an authentic period piece. It took me a while to get my bearings and convinced
myself of the fact that you know what this might be a real one. Rodin, one of
the greatest sculptures of the 19th, early 20th-century, some consider him
comparable to Michelangelo. He was born in 1840. He actually moved the focus of
sculpture on to actual people trying to capture real emotions of people. His work
is very popular and the issue with sculpture is when it was made and
whether or not it was made under the auspices of the artist himself. And that
determines the value. Artists produced editions of these bronzes. He cast them
as they were made and he licensed the foundry to produce these pieces. So you
could see here it’s actually signed “Rodin” on the side here it’s signed ” F. Barbedienne, Fondeur” Ferdinand Barbedienne the foundry. And this was a leading
foundry in France at this time. Rodin died in 1918 so we know that the ones
produced in this period by Barbedienne were done under the auspices of the
artist himself, he had personal control over the way they were made,
the way they were cast, and the way they were finished, the way they were
patinated, and this is very important when you’re dealing with sculpture to
denote the artist actually had his hand in overseeing this. There’s so many
reproductions and fakes of his work that in order to sell one you need a
certification from a group called the Committee Auguste Rodin. My feeling is
that it is an authentic period one, done somewhere between 1880 and 1917 and 1918.
Right during his lifetime or very shortly thereafter. In June of this year,
2016, in London, one brought four hundred and fifty thousand dollars. GUEST: Wow. Wow.
That, wow four hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That is amazing. APPRAISER: At auction, one
estimate on this would be in that four hundred to five hundred thousand dollar
range. GUEST: Wow, I got to get the heck out of dodge here. How am I gonna –
wow. APPRAISER: We have protection for you. GUEST: Oh thank you. That is incredible. APPRAISER: If it turns out
not to be an authentic authorized casting it could be worth five maybe
even ten thousand dollars at auction. GUEST: Wow. APPRAISER: You’ve probably come in with the only
authentic Rodin bronze ever to come into the show. GUEST: Wow that’s amazing. I’m
flabbergasted. APPRAISER: Before the show was aired I got a note from the owner and he told
me that he was going to have a party to watch the ROADSHOW. And then he
later actually sent me a photograph of him and his family sitting around
watching the television. And then later on I know he decided to
sell it. It was given to him by his father and when he found out the value
of it he gave it back to his father and they decided to sell it.
His father was some retirement and I think the proceeds would would go to his
father’s retirement. APPRAISER: I remember seeing the Rodin the first time in Fort
Worth. I was sitting at the glass table and they were filming like right in
front of our table and we were all creaking our necks going, “what’s that?
What’s that? Is it real? Is it real? Is it fake? What’s the story behind it?
What’s Eric going to say?” We were all excited and surprised to feel what it
was. The show was filmed on a Saturday morning — throughout all day
Saturday and by Monday morning I get a call from the family because I work in
Dallas and that was close to them, and said, “We were on the Antiques Roadshow
in Fort Worth. We were the people that had the Rodin, do you -?” I was like, “Oh I
remember you, was it real?” She’s like, “We don’t know but
it may be can you help us find out.” And I said, “Absolutely.” So I worked with the
family to contact the the gallery in Paris that is putting together the
catalog resume. The catalog resume is the list of all the artists works and only a
letter from this gentleman is who everybody believes will say this is a
Rodin. It had to be photographed, it had to be measured, to the hundredth of the
centimeter to the exact same size. Every marking had to be photographed,
everything had to be done and paid in advance of course too – for his fee and then
we set up an appointment for him to see the piece in New York. He spent probably
a couple of hours with it looking over every, inspecting every piece of it going
back and forth and the whole time we’re like, “Can you give us a thumbs up, thumbs
down? Can he gave us more information?” And he wasn’t quite but he just had like
a little smirk and a nice little smile. So we felt really comfortable coming out
of that. It was a couple weeks later that he contacted us with his letter with his
official findings. Yes it was authentic it was a Rodin. It’s from the second state third reduction and there’s probably about 80 to 83
known casts that were made. And most importantly, as
Eric said, it was a lifetime cast because being cast in the artists lifetime is
the most highly prized by collectors which means it’s the most valuable. It
ended up being sold at Sotheby’s London they did a wonderful job with it. They
estimated it at two hundred and fifty to three hundred and fifty thousand pounds
and it’s sold with buyers premium for just under three hundred thousand pounds.
Now since the time that we filmed in Fort Worth there have been several
others of this cast that have come up to market and and because there’s been a
greater supply that you’ve lost a couple of bidders because no one’s going to buy
two. So that way you’re gonna have a little less bidding as more come out. So
if I was in an auction estimate today I would probably be at $300,00 to the $500,000. SILVER: This is among the the greatest discoveries I made a Roadshow.
Seeing a really important work of art like this I got to pick it up I got to
turn it around and you just can’t do that in normal circumstances. I can have
an immediate personal physical connection to a very important work of
art and I you don’t get that in the museum.

Reader Comments

  1. Makes sense to sell it. I don't know what the insurance premium would be to cover something like that, but it's got to be more than your car insurance.

  2. Wow Merideth is an absolute babe. I clicked because she was in the thumbnail not the sculpture. What a work of art.

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