CAMILLE CLAUDEL, The Waltz, 1896, flambé sandstone 40.5 x 37.5 x 18 cm, signed : Claudel and Emile Muller .Private collection.
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Camille Claudel came out of the shadows in the period following WW II. A fascinating artist, unique in her style, she was uncomprimising in her art. Her own tormented destiny fascinated one and all through books, films and plays, in which appeared a woman victimized by a despotic master, in an undeniably misogynous period, and a merciless family. Her mental health was fragile, and when the doctor noted a slight improvement he suggested she return home. To which her mother said, « One cannot let those who feel persecuted run free, unless one is looking for trouble, for once they are back home they quickly go back to their ideas... ». She died in 1943 far from her family.
Almost all her sculptures and drawings listed to date ...
Putting her dramatic life aside, the musée Marmottan wishes to pay an exceptional hommage to the artist the public has finally recognized. Following the exhibitions dedicated to Marie Cassatt, Eva Gonzalez and Berthe Morisot, it has succeeded in bringing together a remarkable presentation of works by Camille Claudel. Next to the bronzes and plaster cast of the Reine-Marie Paris – her great-niece – collection, the heart of the exibit, the retrospective includes other essential pieces on loan from private and public collections, as well as practically all the sculptures and drawings listed to date. This comprises the various versions of La petite Châtelaine (The young lady of the manor) and La Valse (The waltz).
The sensuality of movement
From early childhood Camille Claudel, the famous writer’s sister, kneaded soil. Her first figurines date from her adolescence. Following the advice of Alfred Boucher, the sculptor, she entered the workshop of «The great Mr. Rodin » at the age of 20. As his student, collaborator and companion, she spent many years learning and sharing prior to definitely choosing solitude. In her workshop in rue de Turenne and then on Quai Bourbon, she worked relentlessly, modeling her subjects with all the power of her spontaneity, of her truth, with all the emotion of her purity and sensuality of movement. She passionetly created an ensemble of exceptional sculptures until her tragic illness took hold of her.
There is justice...
Camille Claudel chose to be a sculptor at a time when the young girls of good society were rather oriented towards needle work. Her talent was recognized by a few amateurs and critics such as Octave Mirbeau, but she had above all Auguste Rodin’s unconditional support. Even after they broke up, he wrote to her, «Show your remarkable work. There is justice on this earth, believe me. We are punished and we are rewarded. A genius like yours is rare... ».
Illustration: Camille Claudel, The abandonment, large model. Bronze. E. Blot foundery 62x57x27 cm. Signed C. Claudel. Private collection.
To see more illustrations, click on VERSION FRANCAISE at the top of this page
Exhibition catalogue 20 €