France 1861 – 1929
1893 Creation Notes: cast before 1914 by Hébrard Foundry
Materials & Technique: sculptures, bronze Edition: unnumbered from an edition of 8, with 2 artist's proofs
Maternity was modelled in the year that Bourdelle began work as a praticien in the studio of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), helping to execute the marble versions of the master's work. The influence of Rodin, although not of his smooth marbles is apparent in the animated surface modelling of Maternity, combined with a quiet, almost introspective mood that is present in much of Bourdelle's work. The identity of the mother and child depicted in the sculpture remains unknown.
A second version of Maternity with an enlarged base, taking the total height of the sculpture to 63 cm, also exists. Each version has been cast in bronze in an unnumbered edition of eight and two artist's proofs. Two casts in terracotta, 53 cm in height, have also been cast from the smaller version, as well as two masks in bronze representing the face of the mother. The larger version was editioned posthumously.1
The example of Maternity in the Gallery's collection is a particularly fine cast. Custom stamps on an exhibition label inside the base confirm that this is a lifetime cast dated to before 1914 and possibly the first cast in the edition for this reason.2 Another cast from this edition is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Puerto-Rico.
Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.82.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra