Both shamefully and protectively, Rodin’s “Eve” wraps one arm around her upper body and uses the other to hide her face. The entire posture as well as her left hand’s defensive gesture are an expression of the realisation of the Fall. The sculpture was one of the first to be created in 1881/82 for the large project of the “Gates of Hell”. However, due to his model’s pregnancy, the plaster model remained unfinished in the studio. In 1899, Rodin still exhibited the sculpture because it was precisely the state of unfinishedness that was to prove significant for his work: “Eve” illustrates his important concept of “modelé”, the relinquishment of “worthless” details. At the same time, Rodin enlivened his sculptures with different types of surfaces and the associated play of light.
Georg Hartmann (1870–1954) came from an old Frankfurt family. It was under his direction that, beginning in 1898, the Bauersche Type Foundry expanded to become a major corporation. An art collector and member of the Städelscher Museums-Verein from 1920 onwards, in 1935 Hartmann also came to serve as administrator of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut. His collecting interests were directed primarily towards medieval sculpture, but he was also open to modern art. He initially acquired the ‘Eve’ in Paris for himself; in 1953 he bequeathed it to the Städel.