Camille Claudel was a French sculptor who began working with Auguste Rodin since 1884. Some say she was also Rodin’s lover; it does not matter whether that is true, her skill at making sculptures was totally insightful. On the 70th death anniversary of Camille Claudel, the Musée Rodin Paris paid a tribute to her by including the artist’s works to the museum collection. Today, you can see around twenty of her exceptional and unique works during your Rodin Museum guided tours.
A Young and Promising Artist
Camille Claudel was born on December 8, 1864, into the bourgeois family. She was the eldest child among her three siblings. She had a passion for clay modeling right from her early childhood days, so Camille joined the Academy Colarossi as a student in order to pursue her vocation. The sculptor Alfred Boucher guided her until she was 18, when he had to leave to Italy. Before leaving, Boucher asked Rodin to take charge of instructing Camille along with the other girls in the studio.
From the early stages of her life, Camille exhibited a tendency to dominate, fiery temperament, eccentric and provocative character, and a savage gift for mockery. In fact, Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin never had peace or stability from the time they met in 1882 until 1892 when they parted ways.
The process that is involved in creating a sculpture is not an easy process; it includes a lot of frustrations, the search for expression, experiments in modeling, apprenticeship, and many more. Even though this is a hard process, it could bring deep satisfaction and irresistibility to the soul. Some say that Rodin and Camille were passionate lovers for ten years, and after misunderstandings and hard times in their relationship, she drew a line to her relationship with Rodin and started focusing on her career.
The Height of Camille’s Artistic Career
After her relationship with Rodin was over, she wanted to free herself completely from his influence. In order to do this, she started experimenting in a completely different direction and started creating intimist scenes, which were prohibited in the painting field at that time. She tried to recreate daily life in her new subjects; her work Les Causeuses [The Gossips] is a good example for this.
When she reached the peak of her career, she created La Vague [The Wave], which had direct influence from Hokusai and Japonism. Both of these works featured distinctive, the sophisticated use of polychromy, the use of difficult materials like onyx marble, complex treatment of the hair, and the daring composition sustained her decided taste for virtuosity.