Rodin’s Le Penseur (The Thinker), one of the world’s most iconic works of art and one of Martin Lawrence Galleries’ treasured possessions, has found a collector and will leave Martin Lawrence Galleries’ flagship Las Vegas Gallery at The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace after a long-running display.
When conceived in 1880 in its original size (approx. 70 cm) as the crowning element of The Gates of Hell, seated on the tympanum, The Thinker was entitled The Poet. He represented Dante, author of the Divine Comedy which had inspired The Gates, leaning forward to observe the circles of Hell, while meditating on his work. The Thinker was therefore initially both a being with a tortured body, almost a damned soul, and a free-thinking man, determined to transcend his suffering through poetry. The pose of this figure owes much to Carpeaux’s Ugolino (1861) and to the seated portrait of Lorenzo de’ Medici carved by Michelangelo (1526-31).
While remaining in place on the monumental Gates of Hell, The Thinker was exhibited individually in 1888 and thus became an independent work. Enlarged in 1904, its colossal version proved even more popular: this image of a man lost in thought, but whose powerful body suggests a great capacity for action, has became one of the most celebrated sculptures ever known. While sculptural tradition favored classical forms and decorative mass-appeal, Rodin’s bodies expressed raw emotion, fleshy texture and the inner ugliness of humanity.
Describing his most famed work Rodin said: “What makes my Thinker think is that he thinks not only with his brain, with his knitted brow, his distended nostrils and compressed lips, but with every muscle of his arms, back, and legs, with his clenched fist and gripping toes.”
The Thinker has been one of the main attractions at the Las Vegas Gallery, which at 26 thousand square feet is the largest fine art gallery in the world—home to a full suite of Marilyns by Andy Warhol and the world’s largest Dali painting. The collection also includes masterpieces by Basquiat, Calder, Chagall, Erté, Francis, Lichtenstein, Magritte, Miró, Muniz, Picasso, Renoir and others. The Gallery is unique in displaying world-renowned works of art to the public, free of charge, 7 days a week—providing a museum-like experience amid one the world’s premiere shopping destinations.
Calder’s Spiral (No! to Frank Lloyd Wright) (1966)—exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. from the late sixties until the late nineties—will occupy the space previously held by The Thinker.