The Musee Rodin have cast a number of models from the artist's career across the 20th century, with most being numbered and provided with additional documentation. This helps to keep the artist's name alive and in the news, but does also expand his oeuvre beyond his own lifetime in a way that needs to be considered for those bidding at auction for his work. Another version from the same year can also be found at the National Gallery of Art and this process helps to add Rodin into various North American collections but without losing anything that exists within France already. The method of re-using modelled items several times, or many years after an artist has passed away is frequent within the world of sculpture, and is one the key differences between that market and the related mediums such as drawing and painting.
You will notice the contrasting surfaces between the female figure and the base on which she rests. This is found throughout Rodin's career and was an idea that he tooks from Michelangelo artworks, with that famous sculptor using it many times during the Italian Renaissance. It was intended as a way of suggesting that the piece was crafted naturally from a raw piece of stone and the difference in finishes made each piece enjoyably tactile, not that many now get the opportunity to physically touch a sculpture by either of these artists today. It also makes the smooth surface of the female figure stand out even more, adding to the beauty of this stunning woman. Rodin was known to have romantic feelings for some of his better sculptures, such was the attention to detail and love that he put into each one.
We are not sure how modelled for this piece but Rodin did have several favoured women who feature regularly within his work. His preference was always for the slim, but not skinny look where muscle tone was also apparent. He would call in good numbers of models, some of whom were entirely novice, and have them all hold certain poses as he tried to choose one for his next few pieces. He would have photographs taken sometimes and often created drawings and quick watercolours as a means to taking notes as well. Many of these items have been restored and preserved within the Musee Rodin, an institution that remains the best place to learn more about his life and career.