Musée d'Orsay: Exceptional presentation of works by Camille Claudel

Exceptional presentation of works by Camille Claudel

9 January - 11 February 2018
Galerie Françoise Cachin, level 2

This exceptional presentation brings together works that had until now been in the possession of Camille Claudel’s family, acquired at an auction on 27 November 2017. The French State used its pre-emptive rights in purchasing these lots for the public, national and territorial collections.

The Musée d’Orsay, the Musée Rodin ,the Musée Camille Claudel in Nogent-sur-Seine, La Piscine – Musée d’art et d’industrie André Diligent in Roubaix, the Musée Sainte-Croix in Poitiers and the Maison Camille et Paul Claudel in Villeneuve-sur-Fère coordinated their efforts in integrating these works into the public collections thanks to the support of the State, local authorities and donors.

The sculptures will be incorporated into the respective collections after the exhibition. For conservation reasons, the pastel portrait of Louise Claudel acquired by the museum in Nogent-sur-Seine will not be on display.

The sculptures, all produced in Camille Claudel’s studio, trace the better part of her career as of 1881 when she studied under Alfred Boucher in Paris. This was followed by her encounter with Auguste Rodin, leading to their love affair and Claudel’s admission to the master’s studio in 1884, which marked the start of a period of mutual enrichment. The two artists drifted apart after 1893, before finally separating in 1898.

Claudel moved into her studio on Quai Bourbon in 1899, before succumbing to mental health problems in 1909. Committed shortly after the death of her father in 1913, she died in Montfavet (Vaucluse) in 1943.

Camille ClaudelStudy II for "Shâkountalâ"© Artcurial / DR
Sakountala, study
Circa 1886
Paris, Musée d'Orsay

In this sketch, acquired by the Musée d'Orsay, Claudel finalised the composition of her Sakountala group: the prince, on his knees, implores his wife to pardon him. She then completed the group, a plaster version of which is in the Musée de Châteauroux. After this came a marble entitled Vertumnus and Pomona (Musée Rodin), and a bronze, Abandon (there is a cast in the Musée de Cambrai).


Camille ClaudelOld woman's head, study for "Maturity"© Artcurial / DR
Head of an Old Woman, study for "The Age of Maturity"
Circa 1890
Paris, Musée d'Orsay

For the old woman in her group The Age of Maturity, Claudel modelled the features of Marie Caira, an old Italian woman. The work completes the collections at the Musée d'Orsay, which has the first bronze cast of The Age of Maturity, as well as works by Jules Desbois (Misery) and Auguste Rodin (Winter) for whom the same model also posed.


Camille ClaudelSakountala, study© Artcurial / DR
Sakountala, study
Circa 1886
Paris, Musée Rodin

Two rare clay sketches, modelled with spontaneity and edginess at the time of Claudel’s passionate affair with Rodin, shed light on the origin of the passionate embrace between Sakountala and her husband. This study joins a previous sketch already in the Musée Rodin. The composition is not yet fixed: Sakountala, reunited with her lost love, is still seated at his feet.

Camille ClaudelMan Leaning© Artcurial / DR
Man Leaning
Circa 1886
Roubaix, La Piscine-musée d'art et d'industrie André Diligent

Created by Claudel in Rodin’s studio, Man Leaninguses the features of Giganti, an Italian model who sat for both artists. The reference to the master’s Michelangelesque ideal is clear, but the work is a perfect example of Claudel’s early Expressionist experiments.
In Roubaix, this vibrant plaster will be placed alongside the Torso of a Crouching Woman.


Camille ClaudelOld Helen© Artcurial / DR
Old Helen or Bust of an Old Woman
Circa 1882-1885 (model), between 1906 and 1926 (cast)
Bronze, sand casting
Created before she met Rodin, this head of the family maid demonstrates Claudel’s early interest in the marks of time. A typical, yet slightly sardonic image of dignified old age, this bronze in Poitiers will evoke the artist’s early years with its "theatrical naturalism".


Camille ClaudelWoman at her Toilette© Artcurial / DR
Woman at her Toilette or Woman Reading a Letter
Circa 1895-1897
Poitiers, Musée Sainte-Croix

Claudel develops a personal world consisting of interior scenes in a decorative setting. This woman, absorbed in reverie, is ennobled by a large draped hanging, similar to that found on a theatre set.
In Deep Thought, already in the museum in Poitiers, Claudel extends this decorative and intimist vein of "sketches from life".


Camille ClaudelBust of Paul Claudel aged Thirty Seven, study© Artcurial / DR
Bust of Paul Claudel aged Thirty Seven, study
Poitiers, Musée Sainte-Croix

Camille modelled, for one last time, the features of her younger brother, the writer and diplomat Paul Claudel, who had returned from China. One of the series of portraits of her family, begun when she first started out, this study in Poitiers will echo the classic Florentine style half-length bust of Young Woman with Eyes Closed and Paul’s novitiate at the Ligugé Abbey near Poitiers.


Camille ClaudelDiane© Artcurial / DR
Circa 1881
Villeneuve-sur-Fère, Maison Camille et Paul Claudel

It was probably after she arrived in Paris in 1881 that Claudel produced the bust of Diane, a rare example of her early work, with the influence of antiquity and of her master Alfred Boucher still evident.
The work has been acquired by the Maison Camille et Paul Claudel in Villeneuve-sur-Fère (Aisne), the artist’s family home to which she frequently returned until 1905.

Camille ClaudelMy Brother or Young Roman© Artcurial / DR
My Brother or Young Roman
Circa 1882-1883
Patinated plaster
Aube Department, on long term loan to the Musée Camille Claudel, Nogent-sur-Marne

After Alfred Boucher left for Italy, Auguste Rodin replaced him in 1882-1883 in supervising the work of the young girls who rented a studio in rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, one of whom was Camille Claudel.
At this time, the young artist was making a patinated plaster bust, inspired by the Italian Renaissance, representing her brother as a young Roman.

Camille ClaudelMan with Arms Crossed© Artcurial / DR
Man with Arms Crossed
Circa 1885
Nogent-sur-Seine, Musée Camille Claudel

This sketch shows how stylistically close Rodin and Claudel were when she was working in the master’s studio.
Rodin’s name has at times been put forward for this bust of a man, subsequently mounted on an onyx base.

Camille ClaudelHead of an Blind Old Man Singing© Artcurial / DR
Head of an Blind Old Man Singing
Circa 1894
Nogent-sur-Seine, Musée Camille Claudel

A study for a work entitled The Fiddler, now disappeared, the Head of an Blind Old Man Singing is from a collection of small, naturalist genre scenes produced around 1893-1894.
It is part of the artist’s research into representing the ageing face and body, and is exaggerated to give a tragic and deeply moving effect.

Camille ClaudelPortrait of Louise Claudel (Madame de Massary)© Artcurial / DR
Portrait of Louise Claudel (Madame de Massary)
Circa 1887
Pastel on paper
Nogent-sur-Seine, Musée Camille Claudel

This work is not on display at the Musée d'Orsay for conservation reasons.

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