The caption reads, "Monsieur Rodin se f(outre) de nous!!" (Mister Rodin is making fun of us).
The Société des Gens des Lettres commissioned Rodin to create a monument to Balzac in 1891. The artist struggled to find the right note and finally exhibited the piece in 1898. The reaction was quite negative. The Société rejected it and the press parodied it.