In an early version, she is lying on her back. She is a robust acrobat, a hand holding a foot and another ensuring the balance of her splits. Totally and explicitly nude, this woman is often compared with The Origin of the World of Courbet with whom Rodin shares an irrepressible desire to shock the bourgeois.
In 1891, Rodin works on commission on his monument to Victor Hugo. He designs a group of nudes in which the poet is originally surrounded by the three ages of life. It is a bit boring. The sculptor retrieves his Iris for bringing glory to Hugo by hovering over his head.
Iris becomes independent in 1896 with a larger version. Inspired by the dancers of can can and chahut, Rodin puts the statue upright. The erotic power is increased, but still not enough to the taste of the artist. In order to concentrate the viewer's attention to the open sex, he takes off the head and also the arm that ensured the balance.
Iris bronzes made during the lifetime of Rodin are very rare. One of them cast by Rudier between 1902 and 1905 in the large size model, 83 cm high, was sold for £ 4.6 million including premium by Sotheby's in London on June 19, 2007. This example comes back in the same auction room on February 3, lot 22 estimated £ 6M.
Posthumous casts were also executed. A bronze edited in 1966 in the same size by the Musée Rodin was sold for $ 2.9 million including premium by Sotheby's on May 5, 2015.
SOLD for £ 11.6M including premium