Camille Claudel (1864–1943) and Auguste Rodin (1840–1917)
met in Paris in 1882. Claudel, seventeen years old, wanted
to become a sculptor. At forty-one, Rodin was on the threshold
of a brilliant career.
For a brief, happy period, the two artists had an intense
love affair fired by a common passion for sculpture. Claudel
was present and involved during the creation of Rodin’s
masterpieces in the 1880s and early 1890s. In the progression
of her training in Rodin’s studio, she soon sculpted
works of remarkable character and expressive power.
Then came the storm. While Rodin’s new vision of sculpture
spread over France and the world, Claudel struggled to have
her work recognized in its own right. Irreconcilable artistic
and personal differences developed. Their love dwindled. As
Rodin’s skill and reputation grew, he was recognized
as an artistic genius. He was often compared with the Italian
master Michelangelo, as each was the most famous artist of
his time. Meanwhile, Claudel withdrew and struggled with psychological
problems, which caused her to be institutionalized for the
last three decades of her life.
This exhibition is the first in the United States to shed
light on these sculptors’ mutual influences. Photographs
and letters provide an entry into their private lives. Above
all, more than 120 works tell the story of two talented and
committed artists determined to find their way, without compromise.
Exhibition organized by Musée
national des beaux-arts du Québec, in Québec
City, with Musée Rodin in Paris. In Detroit, the exhibition
has been made possible by a generous grant from the DaimlerChrysler
Corporation Fund. Additional support provided by the Michigan
Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.
Camille Claudel, The Waltz,
modeled 1893; cast 1905. Bronze. Poitiers, Musée Sainte-Croix.
Photo: Musées de Poitiers / Ch.Vignaud
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