Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
'Mademoiselle Camille Claudel' (1856-1945)
Bronze on agate base
Height 24 cm (without base)
Inscribed 'A. Rodin' on the left side and also in relief on the under surface. Signed by the founder 'Alexis Rudier' on the centre back of the neck
Museum no. A.43-1914
Given by the artist
Camille Claudel first met Rodin around 1882, when she was seventeen. Their affair lasted 15 years, and during this period she progressed from student and model to one of Rodin's trusted assistants. She also became an independent painter and sculptor in her own right: 'I showed her where to find gold,' said Rodin, 'but the gold she found was her own'.
Unfortunately, Claudel suffered from mental illness, and in 1914 was taken into a home, where she remained until her death in 1945. Rodin has frequently been criticised for dominating her work and contributing to her illness, but after they parted he did also encourage her to submit her work to the Paris Salon.
Many of the more sensuous figures Rodin created for The Gates of Hell date from the time of their affair. This sensitive portrait conveys the calm, intelligent beauty of Claudel's early days. It exists in several versions and a number of materials, including plaster, marble and glass. This bronze was cast by the firm of Alexis Rudier in 1913.