Camille Claudel (1856-1943)
Property of a French Collector
Camille Claudel (1856-1943)

Le dieu envolé

Camille Claudel (1856-1943)
Le dieu envolé
signed 'C. Claudel' (on the left side of the base); numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'E.A. II/IV C. Valsuani Cire Perdue' (on the back of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 27 in. (68.7 cm.)
Conceived in 1894; this bronze version cast in 1986
Family of the artist.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 1988.
R.-M. Paris, The Life of Camille Claudel, Rodin's 1986 Muse and Mistress, New York, 1988, p. 194, no. 103 (plaster version illustrated).
R.-M. Paris and A. de La Chapelle, L'oeuvre de Camille Claudel, Catalogue raisonné, nouvelle édition revue et complétée, Paris, 1991, pp. 167-168, no. 1 (another cast illustrated, p. 168).
G. Bouté, Camille Claudel, Le miroir de la nuit, Paris, 1995, p. 229.
A. Rivière, B. Gaudichon, and D. Ghanassia, Camille Claudel, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1996, pp. 113 and 114, no. 4 (another cast illustrated, p. 113).
R.-M. Paris, Camille Claudel, re-trouvée, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 2000, pp. 331 and 332 (plaster version and another cast illustrated).
A. Rivière, B. Gaudichon, D. Ghanassia, Camille Claudel, Catalogue raisonné, Nouvelle édition revue et augmentée, Paris, 2000, pp. 138-144, no. 44.6 (plaster version illustrated, p. 140).
Sale room notice
Please note the correct height is 27 in. (68.7 cm.).

Lot Essay

Reine-Marie Paris has confirmed the authenticity of this sculpture.

Le dieu envolé was conceived in 1894 and derives from Claudel's most ambitious group sculpture L'age mur (A. Rivière, B. Gaudichon, D. Ghanassia, 2000, no. 45). Its evolution can be seen in photographs of the plasters she produced over the next six years. The first pieces show a more static pose with the model's arms folded inward, her hands held tightly against her chest and her hair coiled against the nape of her neck. The composition of L'age mur is arranged on three levels anchored by the kneeling woman, her upwardly stretching arms creating the dynamic movement to the two figures above. In an effort to make Le dieu envolé successful as an autonomous composition, Claudel made the figure more upright, her arms stretched higher and her hands close together.

The present work is one of Claudel's later versions of the theme and is cast from a plaster that was discovered in Touraine in 1986. She reduced the size of the base on which the figure kneels so that the feet extend freely and she arranged the hair so that it hangs loosely in wild serpent-like forms, its rough texture contrasting with the smoothness of the model's skin. Claudel was working on these sculptures immediately following the end of her relationship with Auguste Rodin who had been her mentor and her lover for over ten years. When she exhibited a plaster version of Le dieu envolé (A. Rivière, B. Gaudichon, D. Ghanassia, 2000, no. 44.4) at the Salon of 1894, Rodin recommended it to the critic Raymond Bouyer saying, "Thank you for your kindness. Since I am absent from the Champ-de-Mars, I want to ask you to report your impressions of my student Mlle Camille Claudel who ought to be one of the most successful artists with her buste of child's head and, for my preference, a woman kneeling, Le dieu envolé!" (quoted in R. Descharnes and J.-F. Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Paris, 1967, p. 126). Other critics also commented favorably on the piece and Geoffroy wrote, "Mlle Claudel has sent a figure from a group: Le dieu envolé, a woman kneeling, her hands twisted, beautiful in its movement, her torso turning, her face raised" (quoted in A. Rivière, B. Gaudichon, D. Ghanassia, 2000, op.cit., p. 143).

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