Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel (1864-1943)
The Waltz, 1892-1905
Neue Pinakothek, Munich

Unfortunately, Claudel's life story often overshadows her accomplishments as a sculptor. Both a student of Rodin and his lover until she was 30 years, their tumultuous relationship and her later incarceration in a mental asylum for the last 30 years of her life seep into the details of her work. While I am never one to think that biography is separate from creativity, talent and genius, it is important to look and see how an artist's work stands on its own.

Due to Claudel's connection with such a revered and well-known artist, it was difficult for her to shine on her
own as a sculptor once their relationship ended. Some believe that her work is derivative of Rodin's others see its special beauty and her unique talent. Claudel's sculptures are intimate and flowing as you can see in The Waltz. At the same time it is fascinating to see read about discussions of the affect of Claudel on Rodin's work (she remains a source of inspiration for his work)

The original version of this sculpture was criticized for its too blatant nudity and it was strongly suggested to Claudel to add the drapery which she did. While the drapery may detract from Claudel's original intentions it showcases her sculptural talent.

An exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Art focused on the relationship and work of the two, both influencing the other in their work. Camille Claudel & Rodin: Fateful Encounter

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