Camille Claudel Auguste Rodin Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Camille Claudel is yet another example of a highly talented female artist who was only able to achieve fame due to her connections to an established male artist, in this case Auguste Rodin. The art world of the past has been particularly unfair and obstructive to the female gender and it was only the 20th century when this slowly started to change.

We are all aware of the explosive relationships between Frida Kahlo and her Mexican-muralist husband Diego Rivera as well as Pablo Picasso and his much younger lover, Dora Maar. Claudel herself was in her late teens when she first met Rodin, the established artist taking over an art class in which she was a student. It would be wrong to consider her an impressionable, naive young artist, though. Camille was famously strong willed and confident, choosing from an early age to channel her passionate emotions into a career in sculpture. She would never lack enthusiasm for this art form and found a like minded lover in Auguste.

As with the other artistic relationships mentioned here, their bond would impact both their social lives and also their work. Rodin produced several artworks of his muse over an extended period and considered her an inspiring character, in addition to her undoubted beauty. They would regularly exchange highly personal letters between each other, as was the way during the late 19th century. Much of these documents remain today and have helped art historians to form a more accurate understanding of their relationship and also the individual personalities of them both.

When you study some of the attributable quotes from Camille's life, plus our own section of Rodin quotes, you will quickly understand just how volatile and passionate their relationship became. To consider that many of their correspondence was deliberately destroyed for the purposes of privacy, we are fortunate that as much has survived as it has.

Camille Claudel Sculptures

Photographs of Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel Photograph
Portrait of Camille Claudel, 1884, by Cesar (Albumen Print)
Camille Claudel Photograph 1913
Published in the Parisian journal L'Art Décoratif, 1913
Camille Claudel Dressed Smartly
Camille Claudel Dressed Smartly

Famous Quotes by Camille Claudel

I sleep completely naked to make me believe you are here, but when I wake up it is not the same thing. Most of all, don't deceive me with other women any more.

In a letter to Auguste Rodin

You promised to take care of me and not to turn your back on me. How is it possible that you never wrote to me even once and you never came back to see me? Do you think that it is fun for me to spend months, even years, without any news, without any hope!

I am scared; I don't know what is going to happen to me. What was the point of working so hard and of being talented, to be rewarded like this? Never a penny, tormented all my life. It is horrible; one cannot imagine it.

Last night, two men tried to force my shutters. I recognized them: they are two of Rodin's Italian models. He told them to kill me. I am in his way; he wants to get rid of me.

Don't fear anything for your letters, they are burnt one by one and I hope you do the same with mine.

If you are nice, and keep your promise, we will be in paradise.

Sir Rodin convinced my parents to have me committed; they are all in Paris to arrange it.

I have had the problem of seeing my male model go to Italy and... stay there.

You find me at work; excuse the dust on my blouse. I sculpt my marble myself.

I am in no mood to be deceived any longer by the crafty devil and false character whose greatest pleasure is to take advantage of everyone.

I would prefer to have a more appealing job. If I could still change careers, I would prefer it. This unfortunate art is made for long beards and ugly faces rather than for a relatively well-endowed woman.