Year 1909. Bronze buste of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Mahler's sessions with Rodin in Paris were a 'marvelous experience' according to Alma Mahler (1879-1964): 'Rodin fell in love with the model.' She later recalled: 'He was really unhappy when we had to leave Paris, for he wanted to work on the bust much longer. He said Mahler's head was a mixture of Franklin's, Frederick the Great's and Mozart's'. Rodin created two finished busts slightly different in appearance. Model A. See also: Atelier Rodin.


Ascetic, sharp features give the composer an aristocratic look. Gustav modeled for Rodin, though the sittings were difficult to endure for the nervous composer, who saw rest as "time wasted away from his work," as Alma Mahler remembered. Commissioned from the artist in 1909 by Carl Julius Rudolf Moll (1861-1945). Inscription: Signed (on right side of the neck): A. Rodin. Marking: Inscribed (on back of the neck, at left): A. Rudier.

Signed center front of neck and on stamp inside: A. Rodin Foundry mark back of neck to left: Alexis Rudier/Fondeur. Paris
Made in France, Europe.

Modeled 1909; cast 1926.

Auguste Rodin, French, 1840 - 1917. Cast by the founder Alexis Rudier, Paris, 1874 - 1952.

Bronze 13 1/2 x 9 x 8 3/4 inches (34.3 x 22.9 x 22.2 cm).

Alma Mahler's father-in-law, the painter Carl Moll, wanted Rodin to portray Gustav Mahler as a tribute to the musician following his departure from the Vienna Opera in 1907. The encounter between the artists, both at the height of their glory at that time, was arranged, and Rodin made Mahler pose a dozen times in the month of April, 1909.

Two versions of the portrait were then made, one in a traditional and realistic style, which was used for the creation of the marble known as the Man of the Eighteenth Century or Mozart, and the other with a more lively pattern and nervous, giving the face a strong expressiveness. By adding matter on the forehead and around the eyes, the sculptor makes the composer's and conductor's gaze more acute, echoing the words of the composer when he said: "If I were not obliged to wear glasses, I would conduct with my eyes. "(Paul Clemenceau, 1989)

A series of bronze was made by the Rudier foundry from 1910 and the work was successfully exhibited throughout Europe as early as 1911.

Year 1909. Bronze buste of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). Model B.

Marble buste by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) (date unknown). Executed from recollections of the sessions with Mahler for the bronze busts (Model A and Model B). Although Rodin was especially proud of the likeness he had achieved, the marble bust was mislabeled 'Mozart'. Even today, the Rodin museum in Paris still labels the work 'Mozart (Gustav Mahler)'.

Year 1911. Death masks of Mahler taken by Carl Julius Rudolf Moll (1861-1945)Alfred Roller (1864-1935), one of Mahler's best friends, described Mahler's appearance: "When, on the morning after the night he died, I took my leave of Mahler's mortal remains, his features still bore the agony of his long struggle with death. Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), who saw him several hours later, told me what regal calm and unworldy beauty they had then taken on. This, indeed, is the way they appear in the splendid death mask taken by Carl Julius Rudolf Moll (1861-1945)." Deathmask left. 19-05-1911. Vienna, Low sanatorium. See: Gustav Mahler funeral.

Year 1911. Deatmask front. 19-05-1911. Vienna, Low sanatorium. See: Gustav Mahler funeral.

Year 1911. Deathmask right. 19-05-1911. Vienna, Low sanatorium. See: Gustav Mahler funeral.