Stamped with the foundry mark Eug. Blot Paris
Bronze with a dark brown patination
Height: 11 1/7'' (28.3 cm)
Conceived in 1896 and cast circa 1905.
Part of an edition of 59.
Camille Claudel is best known as Auguste Rodin’s tragic lover, but is also acknowledged as an important sculptor in her own right with a dedicated Museum in Nogent Sur Seine. The two met in 1883 in Paris, at the Académie Colarossi, where Rodin held sculpture classes in place of his friend and fellow sculptor Alfred Boucher. The artist immediately recognised Claudel’s talent, who became his studio assistant two years later.
From 1895 onwards, Claudel became Rodin’s muse and lover without ever interrupting her studio assistant practice – she was twenty-four years younger than her master. Their affair ended in the 1890s, as Rodin refused to break his long-standing relationship with Rose Beuret, with whom he had been living for over thirty years.
While it is difficult to pinpoint precisely the conception date for L’Implorante, this is undeniably rooted in the tumultuous happenings of Claudel’s life in the 1890s. The artist first modelled it as part of the group L’Âge Mûr in 1894, reworking it again in 1896 and in this final version in 1898. That year also marked the end of her relationship with Rodin.
C.Claudel, L’Âge Mûr, bronze, ca1907, Musée d’Orsay
In L’Âge Mûr, a clothed, witch-like creature forces a man in his mature years to move away from a youthful figure to the right, whose arms are outstretched in the hopeless attempt to hold him back. The piece equally functions as an allegorical representation of passing Time, as well as a depiction of Claudel’s tormented relationship with Rodin.
The artist’s brother, Paul, discussed the ‘almost terrifying sincerity of the group,’ identifying the kneeling woman as ‘my sister Camille, imploring, humiliated, on her knees and naked.’ The pathetic charge of L’Implorante stands in stark contrast with its modelling, as the youth of the figure is beautifully suggested by the firmness of her forms.
The reproduction rights for L’Implorante were acquired by the founder Eugène Blot in 1900. Blot initially intended to cast the figure in an edition of one-hundred, but only fifty-nine were produced. The present cast is number 39. Casts number 4, 32, 19 and 52 are currently part of the Musée Rodin (France), Albert-Andre Museum (France), Fondation Pierre Gianadda (Switzerland) and the Metropolitan Museum (NY) respectively.