Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude

Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude

Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude

Camille Claudel: A Sculpture of Interior Solitude

Synopsis

This book attempts to separate Camille's art from that of Rodin and to show its connection to the artistic and spiritual ideas of her brother, the poet Paul Claudel. Like her brother, Camille communicates in her art the "silence" of things -- but hers is a silence that is communicative, actual, originative, and meaningful. Illustrated.

Excerpt

Except for the recent translation of the fictionalized life and art of Camille Claudel (1864–1943) by writer and producer Anne Delbée and a biographical work by Claudel’s grandniece Reine-Marie Paris, nothing has been written in English on the artistic career of this nineteenth-century French sculptress, and no attempt has been made by art historians and critics to disentangle her art from that of Auguste Rodin, with whom she is always associated, much less to integrate her work into the larger French artistic context. In standard texts on sculpture, her name is seldom mentioned, and even Rodin’s biographers give her only a marginal place. The recent studies on Rodin by Marie Busco, Rodin and His Contemporaries (1991), and by Ruth Butler, Rodin: The Shape of Genius (1993) are no exceptions. Moreover, the same critics who recognize Claudel’s influence on Rodin’s work either fail to define for us what that influence is, or simply define it in terms of Claudel’s role as his model, mistress, and muse. In short, they fail to untangle for us the difference in aesthetic vision between the two sculptors. What is more surprising is the fact that Camille Claudel is omitted from the growing body of feminist literature. Not even works such as E. H. Fine’s Women and Art: A History of Women Painters and Sculptors from the Renaissance to the 20th Century (1978), D. G. Bachmann and S. Piland’s Women Artists: An Historical, Contemporary and Feminist Bibliography (1978), R. Parker and G. Pollock’s Old Mistresses: Women, Art, and Ideology (1981), and Yeldham’s Women Artists in Nineteenth-Century France and England (1984) discuss Claudel. Only a brief description of Claudel appears in C. Petteys’s Dictionary of Women Artists (1985), in P. Dunford’s A Biographical Dictionary of Women Artists in Europe and America since 1850 (1989), and only two paragraphs are given to Claudel in N. G. Heller’s Women Artists: An Illustrated History (1987).

This study attempts to redress some of these historical imbalances. This work was originally conceived during an earlier investigation of Paul Claudel. My interest was rekindled in a subsequent study on Marcel Proust. But the splendid analysis of . . .

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