Lot n° 58
17000 - 25000
Result with fees
: 29 066EUR
Rilke (Rainer Maria)
Auguste Rodin. Die Kunst - Sammlung Illustrierter Monographien, herausgegeben von Richard Muther, Julius Bard, Berlin, 1903. Two photogravures (including the famous photographic portrait of Rodin by Edward Steichen) and six out-of-text photographic reproductions. First edition (16.4 x 12.5 cm).
Vintage dark brown cloth binding, titled in gold on spine, slipcase.
An exceptional copy addressed to Lou Andreas-Salomé, the great passion of Rilke, who had married a pupil of Rodin's and would later work as his secretary, with a moving note in the form of a poem. The most beautiful possible association for a work by Rilke, about which Lou replied that he loved this book more than any other.
The book was sent by Rilke to Lou Andreas-Salomé on August 1, 1903, from Worpswede, Lower Saxony, where he was staying with his wife Clara ("The little book on Rodin's work that I'm going to send you today will also tell you a lot [...] the book on Rodin must stay close to you"). It contained this poem: "Ich will von Leben eines schönen Dingen / Ehrfuchtig reden weil ich sehr begehre / Dass ich bei Dingen Ding geworden war / Statt alles Willens von der stillen Schwere / Gehalten unter Stilles und Geringes / Worpswede. Im Sommer 1903" [I want to speak of life as a pretty thing / with deep respect because I strongly desire / to become a thing in the midst of things / instead of all the wills of silent heaviness / preserved under silence and weakness].
Rilke sent this copy to Lou along with his book on Worpswede and its circle of artists (his personal copy), published at the same time. On August 8, having not yet received a reply from Lou, Rilke wrote to her, echoing the poem on the Rodin copy: "Only things speak to me, Rodin's things, things in Gothic cathedrals, ancient things, and all things that are finished things. But Lou had already replied the day before, expressing her enthusiasm for this book, and even confiding that it was the one she preferred to all the others: "Dear Rainer, as your book arrived and I discovered it, it seemed to me that I couldn't write to you at length! I'd like to be able to read it in its entirety, this little book of several thousand pages, which I love incredibly, perhaps - no, without reservation - my favorite of all your published books". This appreciation pleased Rilke immensely, who wrote to Lou on August 10: "To learn that my little book on Rodin is dear to you, Lou, was for me an unspeakable joy. You are so magnificently right, dear Lou: with this immense example, which my art offers no way of directly following, I suffer to express this impossibility".
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) met Lou Andreas-Salomé (1861-1937) in 1897. He was immediately captivated by this exceptional woman, with whom Nietzsche, Wedekind and so many others had fallen in love. Their affair lasted until 1901, but turned into an indelible friendship, full of confidences, until the poet's death from leukemia at the Clinique Valmont in 1926.
This work on Auguste Rodin is a rare association between a poet and an artist. Under Rilke's pen, Rodin becomes the hero of an artistic epic in the tradition of his models, from Dante to Baudelaire. Rilke met Rodin at the Vienna Secession in 1901, before becoming the sculptor's secretary for a time a few years later. This discovery of the great sculptor enabled him to develop a subtle relationship between plastic form and inner life. For Rilke, therefore, this essay was as much a book about himself as about Rodin, a point Lou made in his letters to his friend.
Jupp Schlicker, Rilke specialist and former owner of Lou's copy of Rodin, has studied its trajectory in detail. It was not included in the archives that the Nazis collected in Göttingen a few days after Lou's death in 1937, and which were thrown pell-mell into the cellar of the town hall. As her friend and biographer Ernst Pfeiffer pointed out, Lou was by no means a collector, and in the course of her life she had often given away various documents and works she owned, in particular to her Baltic friend from Riga Helene Klingenberg- von Klot-Heydenfeld (including manuscripts of the Duino Elegies, which later ended up at the Bodmer Foundation) and presumably the Rodin. She remained in Berlin until 1943, then took refuge from the bombardments in a small village in Mecklenburg, where she died in 1946. Several works from her library passed into the hands of the old von Brockdorff family in Berlin at this time.
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