Camille Claudel in 1884 (aged 19)
8 December 1864|
FÃ¨re-en-Tardenois, Aisne, France
|Died||19 October 1943
Montdevergues, Vaucluse, France
|Alma mater||AcadÃ©mie Colarossi|
|Relatives||Paul Claudel (brother)|
I am in no mood to be deceived any longer by the crafty devil and false character whose greatest pleasure is to take advantage of everyone.
My countrymen have commissioned a bust of the Republic. It will be placed on the fountain of my native town.
Sir Rodin convinced my parents to have me committed; they are all in Paris to arrange it.
I thank you for your kind invitation to introduce me to the president of the Republic. Since I have not been out of my atelier for two months, I have no appropriate costume for this circumstance. Please excuse me.
Don't fear anything for your letters, they are burnt one by one and I hope you do the same with mine.
I would have preferred to be successful here with a piece that cost me a huge amount of money and effort… rather than sending to Bohemia some ordinary works.
You know what black hatred women feel toward me as soon as they see me, until I return inside my shell, they use every possible weapon. As soon as a generous man tries to help me out, a woman is here to hold his arm and prevent him from acting.
I sleep completely naked to make me believe you are here, but when I wake up it is not the same thing. Most of all, don't deceive me with other women any more.
Last night, two men tried to force my shutters. I recognized them: they are two of Rodin's Italian models. He told them to kill me. I am in his way; he wants to get rid of me.
You see that it is not at all like Rodin… I share these only with you, don't show them.
Send me one hundred francs on our future deals, otherwise I will disappear in a cataclysm.
I have had the problem of seeing my male model go to Italy and… stay there.
When you left on Saturday, I felt a horrible void, I saw you everywhere, on the beach, in your room, in the garden: impossible for me to get used to the idea that you had left.
I will never forget my beautiful days with you in Shanklin, they are certainly the most pleasant ones of my life. Look, I have tears in my eyes just to think about it. I am furious to be here, it is the end of happiness for a whole year.
It is in fact agreed that I am the plague, the cholera of the benevolent and generous men who are interested in art and that, when I show myself with my plasters, even the Emperor of the Sahara would flee.
I don't want to say anything because I know I am unable to protect you from the harm that I see.
You promised to take care of me and not to turn your back on me. How is it possible that you never wrote to me even once and you never came back to see me? Do you think that it is fun for me to spend months, even years, without any news, without any hope!
I have been back in Paris for two weeks. Nothing new. Life is still bitter.
I am scared; I don't know what is going to happen to me. What was the point of working so hard and of being talented, to be rewarded like this? Never a penny, tormented all my life. It is horrible; one cannot imagine it.
I took all my wax studies and threw them in the fire… that's the way it is when something unpleasant happens to me. I take my hammer and I squash a figure.
I would prefer to have a more appealing job. If I could still change careers, I would prefer it. This unfortunate art is made for long beards and ugly faces rather than for a relatively well-endowed woman.
I am not feeling any better because I cannot stay in bed, having constant cause for walking. They say I leave at night by the window of my tower, hanging from a red umbrella with which I set fire to the forest!
You find me at work; excuse the dust on my blouse. I sculpt my marble myself.