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L'Anniversaire de la mort de..

Anniversary of the death of...

 

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Camille Claudel, sculptress and graphic artist, died on 19th October 1943.

Fascinated  with stone and soil as a child, as a young woman she studied at the Académie Colarossi with sculptor Alfred Boucher. (At the time, the École des Beaux-Arts barred women from enrolling to study.) In 1882, Claudel rented a workshop with other young women, mostly English, including Jessie Lipscomb. Alfred Boucher became her mentor and provided inspiration and encouragement. However when he moved to Florence, he  asked Auguste Rodin to take over the instruction of his pupils. Rodin and Claudel met and their tumultuous and passionate relationship started.

In the early years of the 20th Century, Claudel had patrons, dealers, and some commercial success but after  1905 Claudel appeared to be mentally ill. She destroyed many of her statues, disappeared for long periods of time, and exhibited signs of paranoia and was diagnosed as having schizophrenia.[3]She accused Rodin of stealing her ideas and of leading a conspiracy to kill her. After 1906, she lived secluded in her workshop.

On 10 March 1913 at the initiative of her brother, she was admitted to the psychiatric hospital of Ville-Évrard in Neuilly-sur-Marne. The form read that she had been "voluntarily" committed, although her admission was signed by a doctor and her brother. There are records to show that while she did have mental outbursts, she was clear-headed while working on her art. Doctors tried to convince the family that she need not be in the institution, but still they kept her there. Her mother forbade her to receive mail from anyone other than her brother, the poet and diplomat Paul Claudel. The hospital staff regularly proposed to her family that Claudel be released, but her mother adamantly refused each time.

In 1929 Jessie Lipscomb visited her and insisted "it was not true" that Claudel was insane. Rodin's friend, Mathias Morhardt, insisted that Paul was a "simpleton" who had "shut away" his sister of genius.[citation needed]

Camille Claudel died on 19 October 1943, after having lived 30 years in the asylum at Montfavet (known then as the Asile de Montdevergues.

Though she destroyed much of her art work, about 90 statues, sketches and drawings survive.

It would be a mistake to assume that Claudel's reputation has survived simply because of her once notorious association with Rodin. The novelist and art critic Octave Mirbeau described her as "A revolt against nature: a woman genius". Her early work is similar to Rodin's in spirit, but shows an imagination and lyricism quite her own., It has also been interpreted in a less purely autobiographical mode as an even more powerful representation of change and purpose in the human condition.

The Musée Rodin, continues to display her sculptures.

The publication of several biographies in the 1980s sparked a resurgence of interest in her work and resulted in the production of films , music and theatre based on her life and/or her connection with Rodin.

The film Camille Claudel (1988) was a dramatization of her life starring Isabelle Adjani, as Claudel and Gérard Depardieu as Rodin.

The film, Camille Claudel 1915, starring Juliette Binoche, focuses on what it feels like just a couple of days in 1915 when Claudel, imprisoned at a mental institution close to Avignon, awaits her brother Paul's visit. Click here for the film review.

Composer Jeremy Beck's Death of a Little Girl with Doves (1998), an operatic soliloquy for soprano and orchestra, is based on the life and letters of Camille Claudel.

A musical Camille Claudel was produced in Chester, Connecticut in 2003.

 In 2011 the world premiere of Boris Eifman's new ballet Rodin took place in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. The ballet is dedicated to the life and creative work sculptor Auguste Rodin and his apprentice, lover and muse, Camille Claudel.