Auguste Rodin, renowned as a sculptor, was also a magnificent draughtsman, a fact often overlooked today, though certainly not in the artist's own lifetime. His achievement in the graphic media has been obscured not only by his reputation as a sculptor but also because his work has inspired an almost unprecedented number of forgeries, some even dating from before his death in 1917. These forgeries ae to be found in public and private collections around the world; they have discouraged true appreciation, serious analysis, and any extensive display and reproduction of what the artist himself considered the basis of his art.
THE DRAWINGS OF RODIN, an authoritative study by four Rodin specialists, re-establishes and confirms the artist's skill as a draughtsman and clarifies problems of dating and authenticity. Albert Elsen discusses the relation of the drawings to Rodin's sculpture, their thematic content, their style, and their contribution to the history of art. J. Kird T. Varnedoe presents a carefully reasoned chronology of the drawings, based on stylistic considerations, biographical data, and statements by the artist. The task is cogently executed, despite the fact that Rodin worked in several styles throughout every phase of his career, and Mr. Varnedoe establishes a firm basis for his subsequent chapter on the forgeries. In this brilliant piece of analysis, the characteristics by which individual forgers reveal themselves are pinpointed and elucidated by close comparisons between fakes and authentic drawings. Two supplementary essays by Victoria Thorson and Elisabeth Chase Geissbuhler throw new light on hitherto neglected aspects of Rodin's graphic oeuvre. Mrs. Thorson contributes an iconographical study of the later drawings, pointing up some of the complexities of Rodin's thought and modes of expression during this period of synthesis. Mrs. Geissbuhler offers the fruit of an ambitious study of hundreds of rodin's architectural sketches and their sources. [via]