“Rodin accumulates these studies of details; the cabinets in his studio are full of studies of parts, torsos, hands. He has investigated, with passion, the expressions of the human hand,” wrote the symbolist critic Gustave Kahn in 1906. This sculpture offers an excellent example of Rodin’s technique of assembling separate fragments to create new independent works. The clenched left hand, magnified, was almost certainly cast for the first time at the request of a major Rodin collector, the American Jules Mastbaum. Rodin has combined it with the torso of the Centauress, adding slightly off-scale arms probably derived from another sculpture, The Despairing Adolescent. The result is a confrontation between a graceful little figure, vulnerable and beseeching, and a monstrous and overwhelming force—a kind of allegory of domination.
Art dealer Max Stern, head of the Dominion Gallery in Montreal from 1942 to 1987, became fascinated with Rodin’s bronze works in the early 1960s. He undertook the North American promotion of the posthumous casts, produced under the guidance of the Musée Rodin, Paris, which holds the moral right to the artist’s work.