Gifts for Smart People - part VI

Bronze-Clad Bookends After Rodin's "Le Penseur" (LEO Design)

Which pair of bookends could be more-appropriate for a smart person than those called "The Thinker"?

Rodin first created "Le Penseur" in 1880 as part of a larger sculpted grouping called "The Gates of Hell," based on Dante's The Divine Comedy. The first large stand-alone "Thinker" was cast in 1904 and the public was intrigued by a work which perfectly suited the times. Psychology increasingly was viewed as a legitimate science and the public was fascinated with the human mind and the theories of Sigmund Freud.  "The Thinker" became an icon of the Turn-of-the-Century zeitgeist.

The bookends shown above were made in the 1920's—when "The Thinker" was still a relatively recent novelty.  First, the bookend maker needed to sculpt an artful and accurate model which captured the spirit and energy of Rodin's original.  From this model, moulds for casting were produced.  Then, plaster-composite castings were produced—and these were clad with bronze through the process of electroplating.  The pieces could be patinated or otherwise finished exactly as solid bronzes would be.  Thus, this bronze-cladding method was a way of creating what might be called a "poor man's bronze." They were sold in department stores, quality gift shops and museums (where Rodin's work might be on-exhibit).  Though they were far less expensive than traditional, solid bronzes, they did exhibit a very high degree of style and craftsmanship.  And they've become very collectible today.

Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.

More handsome bookends tomorrow.


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