Rodin's Illustrations of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal
In 1887, publisher and bibliophile Paul Gallimard asked Auguste Rodin to illustrate his personal copy of the rare 1857 edition of Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil (now in the Musée Rodin, Paris). In 1918, the Société des Amis du Livre Moderne (Society of Friends of the Modern Book) published 200 facsimile copies, of which this is number 74.
Baudelaire's poetry had inspired Rodin during the conception of his major monument The Gates of Hell. His illustrations echo drawings made during the germination of that project in the early 1880s, including three examples of his "black drawings," so-called for the darkness of their content and ink wash. He also included sketches made after sculptural compositions, such as Orpheus and Eurydice and The Thinker, enjoying the multiplicity of symbolic resonances present in his work.
Illustrations by Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
Text by Charles Baudelaire (French, Paris 1821–1867 Paris)
Vingt-sept poèmes des Fleurs du mal (Twenty-Seven Poems from the Flowers of Evil), 1918
Published by the Société des Amis du Livre Moderne, Paris
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1968 (68.632.1)
Auguste Rodin's Illustrations of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal