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This article, a puff piece about Rodin (which, really, do we need more of that, 100+ years later?) fails to acknowledge that Camille Claudel was intricately part of Rodin's success and artistic breakthroughs. Some argue that she may have made many of the works he was famous for when she was 18. The author never once mentions her, even though any one with a hint of art history interest in this period would know that at minimum she was his "muse."

He literally never mentions her.

But I and others would argue that Rodin stole techniques and inspiration from Camille Claudel. She was never in her lifetime recognized as a great artist (or at the least, Rodin's equal), even though it was clear to him and many others that she as an incredible talent.

French art society routinely rejected her work and refused to give her commissions.

The narrative is that after their 10 year tryst she "went mad" and was committed to an institute where she died, which might sound like a familiar historical narrative to you, especially about talented women during this time period.

Articles like this wash women in history out of the conversation and are gross. They find the bits of history they want to celebrate and ignore the harder truths that led to a fascinating (but tragic) creative process.

Sources for all the "yeah but source" people: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/feb/26/camille...

https://www.amazon.com/CAMILLE-CLAUDEL-Life-Odile-Ayral-Clau...




I agree with much of this. Just to add to the shamefulness of her treatment, she "went mad" in 1905, was committed to a psychiatric hospital (likely against her will by her brother Paul) in 1913, and died thirty years later in 1943. What a waste of a wonderful talent. Her treatment by her brother in particular is despicable. More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Claudel#Confinement

There are attempts to bring some balance though. There was a flawed but wonderful exhibition in Detroit in 2006 which showed their work side-by-side. Aside from a power cut in the middle of our visit this was an astonishing demonstration of how much she influenced his work. (Although the power cut did allow some fun projecting huge shadows from the sculptures onto the walls using our phone torches). http://www.economist.com/node/5354447

If you enjoy sculpture, or are even passingly interested, it's very much worth your while to make a journey for any exhibitions within striking distance.


This is an oft heard complaint about The New Yorker. The Guardian Is much less biased. Thanks for the link.


The entirety of your post is baseless, so I won't address every point, but:

Camille Claudel was intricately part of Rodin's success and artistic breakthroughs

Nonsense. His strongest work had nothing to do with her, and was conceived, commissioned, and started before he had ever met her.

But I and others would argue that Rodin stole techniques and inspiration from Camille Claudel

This is so patently false and salacious that it's infuriating. Citations please. Rodin's technique was revolutionary, original, and is now firmly grounded in the cannon - what are your qualifications to make this judgement? Can you please cite these historians or provide some sort of literature?

She was never in her lifetime recognized as a great artist (or at the least, Rodin's equal)

Because she was not a great artist, nor his equal. Her works are fine, but they are utterly derivative of his. One cursory glance at any of her pieces proves this, and of course the critics of her time, and those after, have all made this same observation.




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