CAMILLE CLAUDEL by Odile Ayral-Clause
A Life

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Camille Claudel (1864-1943) was a gifted 19th-century French sculptor who worked for Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), became his lover, and eventually left him to gain recognition for herself in the art world. After she crumbled under the combined weight of social reproof, deprivations, and art world prejudices, her family had her committed to an asylum, where she died 30 years later. Although Claudel's life has been romanticized in print and on film, a fully researched biography has never been written until this one. The book draws upon much unpublished material, including letters and photographs that confirm the brilliance of her sculpture, clarify her relationship with Rodin (who did not exploit her, but, in fact, supported her work throughout his life), and reveal the true story of her confinement in a mental institution. Claudel's fascinating life touches many aspects of women's issues: creativity, struggle for recognition, conflict with social values, and art world inequities. Illustrated with personal family photographs, this is an intimate and moving tribute to an artist whose life and work have, until now, been misinterpreted and undervalued.

About Odile Ayral-Clause

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Ayral-Clause is a professor of French at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.
Published January 1, 2002 by Harry N. Abrams. 279 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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French sculptor Claudel (1864–1943) is best known for her love affair with fellow artist Auguste Rodin, the basis for a late '80s French film starring Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle

Apr 08 2002 | Read Full Review of CAMILLE CLAUDEL: A Life

Publishers Weekly

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By contrast, Ayral-Clause fully accepts Rodin as a great artist and great man, reserving criticism for Camille's brother, the far-right-wing poet and diplomat Paul Claudel, who ensured she was buried in a common grave for paupers despite the family's great wealth.

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