Last Sunday, March 26th, was the opening of Camille Claudel Museum in a small French town southeast of Paris. The museum received more than 2000 visitants the opening day, a huge success. For many people, it’s a late recognition to one of most brilliant sculptors of her time and one, between many, art history’s overlooked female artists.
Her biography is tragic. She was born in 1864 and became very interested in sculpture and since the beginning she showed be very talented. But her gender hindered her for most of her life. She studied at the Académie Colarossi and she had two great mentors: Alfred Boucher and Auguste Rodin before turned 20.
She worked as Rodin’s assistant and became his muse and lover for over ten years. She worked with marble and bronze creating narrative scenes, busts and nudes. By 1906 she started to destroy many of her artwork, she was frustrated with critics always comparing her work with Rodin’s. She spent the rest of her life in asylums until die at the age of 78.
During all these years, even after her death, she was hidden behind the shadow of Auguste Rodin. Art hisotrians have ignored her geniality, but now it’s the time to show that it shines with its own light.
The Museum’s Collection
The basis of the museum’s collection consists in 43 works by Claudel bought from the artist great niece. It’s the largest collection of Claudel’s works in the world. The architecture of the museum is based on the house where she lived when she was adolescent, the moment when she discovered the sculpture. It was renovated to include 15 galleries, we can find in the museum some works of her mentors and contemporaries of Claudel, at the turn of the 20th century “The Golden Age of French Sculpture”.
A curious fact that not many people know, she was also a graphic artist.
Maybe in the future more women artists have their history and works rescued from art history’s oblivion.