Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday is 'Missing Paris Day'~ Home of Camille Claudel

Just down the Quai from Notre Dame
and the Cafe Lutetia (pictured earlier) is the door to
the home of Camille Claudel, French sculptor and artist.

Born in 1864 in Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, her family moved to several different locations in France (including a stay in Bar-le-Duc, the home of 'My French Family' and where I've spent many a Christmas) before finally, in 1881, settling in the Montparnasse section of Paris.

In 1883, while she studied under Alfred Boucher, Auguste Rodin agreed to lead the sculptor's class while he was away and it was here that he met the young Camille. The two began a tumultuous affair.
(Note: the Ecole des Beaux-Arts still refused women at this time! )

About the time she broke off her relationship with Rodin, she moved into this building where she lived and worked until 1913 when a mental illness prodded her family to incarcerate her in a psychiatric hospital.

This plaque outside the door includes a quote from one of her letters to Rodin:

"There is always something missing that torments me."

Unfortunately, during her illness, she destroyed many of her works. And while her doctors told her mother she was perfectly capable of living outside the hospital, her family refused to release her.

The film version of her life, made in 1988, stars the stunning Isabel Adjani as Claudel and Gerard Depardieu as Rodin and was nominated for two Academy Awards.

(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)


  1. Fantastic post...I must know more about her! The first photo is gorgeous - I wish we knew how to teleport =)

  2. I know that movie. I loved it when I watched it years ago. I just love Isabel Adjani, actually.

  3. Amy~ Thanks so much! Wonder how far away we are from teleporting! Let me know if you hear of anybody working on it and let's invest!

    Relyn~ Bonjour and so glad to see you! Reading up on her makes me want to rewatch the film!

  4. hello ms. k ~
    well, i can't tell you how delighted i was to find you today, this first day of october! i went searching, you see, for an 'ode to october' and was completely charmed by your writing (february posting!) ... you have captured this month of cool airs, fall fragrance, and natures adieu to summer so eloquently ... so much so that i hope you don't mind that i have shared it at my little space in blogosphere ... as well, i know my blog friends will be equally delighted to find your most lovely blog ...
    many thanks ~ warm wishes,

  5. Camille's story is such a tragedy... . it was a beautiful movie; perhaps time to watch it again.
    I just found your lovely blog through Vicki at French Essence.
    I shall return to visit!


  6. PrairieGirl~ Glad you came by and appreciate your kindness.

    StudioJudith~ So glad you found me and hope to see you again! Love Vicki's site!

  7. This is a beautiful tribute to Camille. I have studied her life and I am in America....I would so much love to see this I actually teared up when I saw the pic of her door to home I had thought it was gone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was struck by Rodins work then saw Camilles work and investigated the stories...truly believing that some of Camille work was actually taken and signed by Rodin and passed off as his. Camilles so called insanity was fueled by Rodins seduction and betrayal and her mothers hatred. Sandra DeSpain


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