Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Rodins fetch £10.3m at auction

Auguste Rodin sculpture, The Thinker. was commissioned by publishing magnate Ralph Pulitzer in 1906 (AP/Sotheby's)

Two early casts from Auguste Rodin's masterpiece The Gates Of Hell have sold for a total of more than 16 million dollars (£10.3m) at a New York City auction.

The Thinker sold for 15.3 million dollars (£9.8m), a new record for the figure. Sotheby's has not said who bought it.

A later cast of the statue was auctioned for just under 12 million dollars in 2010.

The full-scale sculpture was commissioned by publishing magnate Ralph Pulitzer in 1906 and made under Rodin's supervision.

Ugolino And His Children, from 1883, sold for 965,000 dollars (£622,000). The Kiss, from 1909, did not sell.

The pieces were consigned by a private collector.

The Gates, based on Dante's Inferno, was never fully realised. Philadelphia's Rodin Museum owns the first bronze cast of The Gates.

Meanwhile, a French painting owned by Madonna sold at Sotheby's for more than seven million dollars (£4.5m). Sotheby's did not say who bought Fernand Leger's Three Women At The Red Table for 7.2 million dollars. The abstract work had a pre-sale estimate of 5-7 million dollars.

Proceeds of the sale will go to the Ray of Light Foundation, which supports girls' education in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries.

Madonna said she wanted to "trade something valuable for something invaluable" in countries where female education is rare or non-existent. She bought the work at Sotheby's in 1990 for 3.4 million dollars.

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