Los Angeles, Getty Museum shows Camille Claudel

Sensitive sculptures by a unique artist

Camille Claudel is well-known in pop culture, but her works of art are less so outside France: an exhibition at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles aims to change this. Around 60 sculptures by the artist will be on display there from April 2.

April 02, 2024
Crouching Woman, about 1884–1885 Camille Claudel (French, 1864–1943)
Musée Camille Claudel, Nogent-sur-Seine Photo: Marco Illuminati EX.2024.1.10
Crouching Woman, about 1884–1885 Camille Claudel (French, 1864–1943) Patinated plaster

»We are in the presence of something unique, a revolt of nature: a woman genius«: With these words, the art critic Octave Mirbeau was referring to Camille Claudel (1864-1943), a French sculptor. Even more than other art genres, sculpture was a male domain due to the physically demanding nature of the work. Moreover, women were not yet allowed to work with nude models. Camille Claudel did not let these restrictions stop her; even as a teenager she was fascinated by sculpture. Her sensitive works on the themes of love, loss and intimacy were unique and broke new ground. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is showing around 60 of the artist's sculptures in the exhibition Camille Claudel. It opens on April 2 and runs until July 21.

Claudel was one of the few sculptors known during her lifetime. In 1893, she exhibited sculptures at the World's Fair in Chicago - when she was in her late 20s. Her oeuvre includes large-format allegories and small genre scenes, and she worked in terracotta, plaster, bronze and stone. The artist combined the highest level of craftsmanship with innovative creativity. At the beginning of the 20th century, Claudel fell mentally ill and destroyed many of her own works. Her mother and brother had her forcibly committed in 1913. A few years later, she was considered cured, but Claudel was not allowed to leave the institution due to her mother's lack of permission. Forgotten by the art world, she died of a stroke 30 years after being committed. In 2017, the Musée Camille Claudel opened in Nogent-sur-Seine, where Claudel lived for several years as a child. Around half of her 90 surviving works of art are kept there.

The exhibition was created in collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago, where it was on display from October 2023 to February 2024.Art.Salon

The Waltz (Allioli), about 1900 Camille Claudel (French, 1864–1943)
Private collection Photo: Musée Yves Brayer EX.2024.1.36
The Waltz (Allioli), about 1900 Camille Claudel (French, 1864–1943) Bronze

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