Camille Claudel


12” x 8” oil on masonite, 2006

1886, Camille and Jessie Elborn, Notre Dame de Champs Atelier, working on “Sakuntala.”

12” x 8” oil on masonite, 2006

1884, Camille Claudel, age 20

12” x 8” oil on masonite, 2006

1886, Camille in hat and striped suit

12” x 8” oil on masonite, 2006

1929, Camille age 65 in Montevergues Asylum where she died in 1943

A brilliant sculptor who was Rodin’s student, and later his collaborator and lover,
Camille Claudel (1864-1943) was committed against her will to an asylum for the last 30 years of her life.

In 1998, during Gloucester’s 375th anniversary, Anna painted a series of 20 or more portraits of famous artists who had spent time working on Cape Ann, and other painters that she admired. She had left one portrait unfinished. Recently she came across that  portrait of Camille Claudel and decided to finish it.  Reading her biography Camille Claudel: A Life by Odile Ayral-Clause / 2002, Anna was once again so moved by Camille’s tragic life and great talent that she painted three additional portraits of the unfortunate sculptress.

In 1943 Camille died in the Montdevergue Asylum. She had spent the last 30 years of her life imploring relatives and friends  to release her  or  to at least have her moved to an institution  closer to her home. She rarely, in all those years, had a visitor and correspondence was kept from her.

Were it not for Jessie Lipscomb, her English friend and fellow  student of Rodin,  we would  have no picture of Camille in the asylum. After searching for years and persevering, she managed to unearth Camille’s address  and visit the 65 year old artist in Mondevergues  Asylum.  

Working from black and white photos of Camille, Anna tried to be truthful to her likeness and to use color to imagine to portray how Camille actually appeared in person.