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A bronze bust believed to be Saint Jean-Baptiste, a previously lost lifetime cast by Rodin.

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The original cast was made by the Gruet family foundry in 1880 by Gruet Jr with two other casts produced by his father, who was preferred by Rodin, in 1891 and 1892. One of the two is in the Plateau museum in Seoul with the whereabouts of the other, gifted by Rodin to the wr iter Adrien Peytel in 1895, previously unknown.

The 21½ (53cm) high bust, signed to the base A Rodin and Gruet Aine Fondeur Paris, was found by the Connecticut auctioneers when clearing items from the family estate of CBS co-founder Arthur Judson (1881-1975). He is thought to have acquired it in the 1950s or ‘60s.

Based on detailed digital images, a curator at the Musée Rodin in Paris said the bronze “appears to be in keeping with the examples in their collection”. The auction house offered it for sale with a 90-day guarantee during which period the winning bidder could choose to have the piece authenticated at their own expense.

That process begins now, after competition at the Black Rock online sale closing on October 10 attracted 116 different bids.