Reine-Marie Paris has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Enveloped by a swirling mass of flowing drapery, the towering female figure at the heart of La fortune is a study in graceful refinement, the long, sinuous line running through her body a testament to Camille Claudel’s artistry in her treatment of the human form. This elegant personification of fortune, or Lady Luck, highlights the capricious nature of the indifferent force that determines fate as she weighs two options in her hands, her blindfold indicating that her decision is based solely on her own mercurial whims rather than any objective analysis of their individual merits. Adopting a pose that directly echoes the female dancer in Claudel’s earlier composition La valse, circa 1895, she balances precariously upon the edge of a wheel, her whole body drawn towards the purse she holds in her left hand, implying that this is the one which she will bestow her favour upon. The treatment of the drapery is characteristic of Claudel’s style from the early 1890s, its long, fluid train offering a counterweight to the extreme posing of the body and adding a sense of fluidity to her form as her legs appear to meld with the fabric itself.
Created during the final years of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth centuries, La fortune was one of a number of sculptures in which Claudel revisited key figures and motifs from her earlier career. Works such as L’implorante and La fortune isolated figures from larger, multi-character sculptural groups, abstracting them from their original context. Claudel appears to have taken great pleasure in such reworking, finding renewed inspiration in forms which had obsessed her years previously, transforming them into independent compositions that highlight the expressive power of these individual characters.