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CLAUDEL, Camille

Fère-en-Tardenois, Aisne 1864 - Montfavet, Vaucluse 1943

Torse de femme accroupie

Torso of a Crouching Woman

model about 1884-1885, cast by 1913

bronze

torso

Dimensions (HxWxD): 13 34 x 10 58 x 10 14 in.

Acc. No.: 2018.32

Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2018.32)

Photo credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

© Artist : public domain


Provenance

  • about 1913-1955, Paul Claudel (1868-1955), French
  • 1955, by inheritance to his heirs
  • 1955-2014, Heirs of Paul Claudel
  • 2014, June 24, London, Sotheby's, Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, lot 389, sold to Galerie Malaquais
  • 2014-2017, Paris, Galerie Malaquais
  • 2017, sold to Daniel Katz Ltd.
  • 2017-2018, London, Daniel Katz Ltd.
  • 2018, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum

Bibliography

  • Museum's website, accessed August 3, 2018
  • 1983 Rivière
    Anne Rivière, L’Interdite : Camille Claudel 1864-1943, Paris, Éditions Tierce, 1983, p. 73
  • 1984 Gaudichon et Rivière
    Sous la direction de Bruno Gaudichon et Anne Rivière, Camille Claudel (1864-1943), cat. exp., Paris, Musée Rodin, 1984, pp. 31-32, no. 6
  • 1984 Paris
    Reine-Marie Paris, Camille Claudel, 1864-1943, Paris, Gallimard, 1984, pp. 232-233, 355, ill.
  • 1985 Kuthy
    Sandor Kuthy, Camille Claudel-Auguste Rodin, exh. cat., Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, 1985, p. 79, no. 19
  • 1988 Paris
    Reine-Marie Paris, Camille Claudel, exh. cat., Tokyo, Tokyu Gallery of Art; Washington D.C., National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1988, p. 34, no. 5
  • 1988 Paris
    Reine-Marie Paris, Camille: The Life of Camille Claudel, Rodin's Muse and Mistress, New York, Seaver Books, 1988, p. 226
  • 1990 Paris et La Chapelle
    Reine-Marie Paris et Arnaud de La Chapelle. L'œuvre de Camille Claudel : Catalogue raisonné, Paris, A. Biro ; Éditions d'Art et d'histoire Arhis, 1990, p. 101, no. 7
  • 1990 Pingeot
    Sous la direction d'Anne Pingeot, Le corps en morceaux, cat. exp., Paris, Musée d’Orsay; Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1990, pp. 136, 139, 278, fig. 259, no. 144
  • 1990 Barbier
    Sous la direction de Nicole Barbier, C. Claudel, cat. exp., 3rd ed., Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, 1990, pp. 50, 144, no. 16
  • 1991 Barbier
    Sous la direction de Nicole Barbier, Camille Claudel, cat. exp, Paris, Musée Rodin, 1991, pp. 50, 148, no. 16
  • 2000 Rivière, Gaudichon et Ghanassia
    Anne Rivière, Bruno Gaudichon et Danielle Ghanassia, Camille Claudel : Catalogue Raisonné, 2nd ed., Paris, Adam Biro, 2000, pp. 71-72, no. 14.3
  • 2000 Paris
    Reine-Marie Paris, Camille Claudel, re-trouvée : catalogue raisonné, Paris, Éditions Aittouarès, 2000, pp. 219-220, no. 7
  • 2001 Rivière, Gaudichon et Ghanassia
    Anne Rivière, Bruno Gaudichon et Danielle Ghanassia, Camille Claudel : Catalogue Raisonné, 3rd ed., Paris, Adam Biro, 2001, pp. 71-72, no. 14.3
  • 2007 Magnien
    Sous la direction d'Aline Magnien, Camille Claudel: 1864-1943, exh. cat., Madrid, Fundación Mapfre; Paris, Musée Rodin, 2007, pp. 188-189, no. 19
  • 2014 Paris et Cressent
    Reine-Marie Paris et Philippe Cressent, Camille Claudel : Intégrale des œuvres/Complete Work, Paris, Culture Economica, 2014, pp. 100-101, no. 33
  • 2014 Rivière et Gaudichon
    Sous la direction d'Anne Rivière et Bruno Gaudichon, Camille Claudel : Au miroir d’un art nouveau, cat. exp., Roubaix, La Piscine-Musée d’Art et d’Industrie André Diligent ; Paris, Gallimard, 2014, p. 45, fig. 13

Comment

  • Press release, May 30, 2018:
    LOS ANGELES, CA – The J. Paul Getty announced today the acquisition of two important French bronze sculptures, Torso of a Crouching Woman, by Camille Claudel (1864-1943) and Bust of John the Baptist by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917).
    “Each of these bronzes is a work of outstanding quality and importance, but it is the close connection between the two artists that makes their combined acquisition such a powerful statement about French sculpture at the turn of the twentieth century – a moment when this medium was fundamentally transformed,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It is particularly gratifying to be able to acquire a major work by Claudel – Rodin’s student and lover – at a time when her achievement as an artist is receiving the recognition it deserves. I have no doubt the Torso of a Crouching Woman will quickly become a favorite with our visitors.”
    Potts adds, “Claudel was already regarded as an artistic genius by her contemporaries, but her reputation always suffered from being in Rodin’s shadow. Fortunately this has changed in recent years, to the point that it is today nearly impossible to collect her already scarce work. We could not therefore pass up the chance to bring this breathtaking sculpture into the Getty, along with a rare lifetime cast Rodin.”
    Torso of a Crouching Woman, Camille Claudel
    At just over a foot tall, Torso of a Crouching Woman represents a fragmentary naked female body crouching on the floor, with no head or arms and the left knee cut off. With its movement focusing on the perfectly mastered balance of the body, the sculpture is characteristic of Claudel’s harmonious modeling of the human body, with subtle rendition of the bones and muscles under the skin. The Torso is extremely rare: its plaster model is lost and only one other bronze cast exists, in a French Museum.
    “Torso of a Crouching Woman shows Camille Claudel’s very personal style,” says Anne-Lise Desmas, senior curator of sculpture and decorative arts at the Getty Museum. “While the back and the chest display a natural sensuality, the position of the body folded on itself and the deliberate fragmentary composition expresses introspective meditation, suffering, and the solitude of the individual faced with herself. The Getty Museum already owns masterpieces by women sculptors such Luisa Roldàn, called La Roldana (Spanish, 1652–1706), Barbara Hepworth (1903–1974), and Elisabeth Frink (British, 1930–1993). I am delighted we can add a masterpiece by Claudel, who deserves the increasing devotion she is getting in France. The novelist Octave Mirbeau called her: ‘A revolt against nature: a woman genius.’ I could not define her better!”
    Camille Claudel was born in Northern France in 1864. She spent much of her childhood in Nogent-sur-Seine, southwest of Paris, where she met the sculptor Alfred Boucher (1850-1934). When her family moved to Paris in 1881, Claudel attended the Académie Colarossi and continued to be mentored by Boucher. One of her earliest works is from this time: a bust of her then 13-year-old brother Paul Claudel, who would become a well-known writer and the first owner of the Getty’s Torso of a Crouching Woman.
    When Boucher left Paris in 1883, he asked Auguste Rodin to take on his students. Claudel became Rodin’s assistant and began a tumultuous affair with him that would last until 1898. She was his student, model, collaborator, muse and lover in a time marked by Rodin’s intense creativity during his commission of the Gates of Hell, 1880-90. The Getty’s Torso of a Crouching Woman corresponds to this period and is a reworking of Claudel’s Crouching Woman, which was likely inspired by Rodin’s terracotta Crouching Woman (Lust) which he made as part of the Gates of Hell project. However, as Rodin himself stated: “I showed her where to find gold, but the gold she found is entirely her own.”
    Claudel was known for her very personal conception of sculptural practice and, unlike many sculptors of her time, she carried out most of the technical process of making her sculptures herself. This included the difficult and time-consuming process of carving in marble and onyx. She exhibited regularly from 1885 to 1905 at the Société des Artistes français, and obtained commissions from the French government and a small network of clients. However, the rest of her life was tragic. Claudel’s mental health started to decline in 1905: she showed signs of paranoia and lived alone, secluded in her workshop, often destroying her work. Her family sent her to an asylum in 1913, and although doctors declared on various occasions that she could be released, she spent the rest of her life there.
    With this acquisition, there are now six sculptures by Camille Claudel in American museums. Torso of a Crouching Woman is the first Claudel in the Getty’s collection, the only one in a Los Angeles museum, and the largest in the United States.
    Bust of John the Baptist and Claudel’s Torso of a Crouching Woman will go on view in summer 2018.
    Museum's website, accessed August 3, 2018:
    This bronze Torso of a Crouching Woman represents a fragmentary naked female body crouching on the floor, with no head or arms and the left knee cut off. The movement of the piece focuses on the perfectly mastered balance of the body. The weight rests firmly on the feet, which are in turn fully anchored to the ground. Harmoniously modeled, the back presents a splendid study of anatomy, with a masterful rendition of bones and muscles underneath the skin. From the contorted pose of the body and its fragmentary nature emanate expressions of pain, solitude, or fear.
    This sculpture is characteristic of Claudel’s very personal and powerful rendering of the human body. While the back and the chest display a natural sensuality, the position of the body folded on itself and the deliberate fragmentary composition express introspective meditation, suffering, and the solitude of the individual faced with herself.
    The creation of the Torso of a Crouching Woman dates from the early years of Claudel’s collaboration in Rodin’s studio. It is the result of Claudel’s reworking of her Crouching Woman, whose terracotta model she exhibited in 1885 at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris (now lost). It is difficult to know precisely when Claudel decided to change her first composition by cutting off the head, the arms, and the left knee. Claudel knew the classical Crouching Aphrodite in the Louvre and was aware of the evocative power of sculptural fragments from Antiquity.