Lot 50
  • 50

Camille Claudel

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
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  • Camille Claudel
  • La Valse (deuxième version)
  • Inscribed C. Claudel, stamped with the foundry mark Eug. Blot Paris and numbered 13
  • Bronze
  • Height: 18 in.
  • 45.7 cm


Liane Dyade, Paris (acquired by 1950)

Philippe Cazeau, Paris

Claire Simard Odermatt (acquired in 1990)

Catherine Vedovi (acquired from the above)


Anne-Rivière, L' Interdite Camille Claudel 1864-1943, Paris, 1983, illustration of the plaster version p. 27, illustration of another cast p. 30

Bruno Gaudichon, "Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre sculpté, peint et gravé," in Camille Claudel (1864-1943) (exhibition catalogue), Paris, 1984, no. 17c, illustration of another cast p. 51

Reine-Marie Paris, Camille Claudel, Paris, 1984, illustrations of another cast pp. 261-63

Reine-Marie Paris, Camille, The Life of Camille Claudel, Rodin's Muse and Mistress, New York, 1988, illustrations of another cast pls. 80-81

J. Boly, "Camille Claudel, état des recherches et du rayonnement," in Société Paul Claudel en Belgique, 1989, illustration of another cast p. 47

Reine-Marie Paris & Arnaud de La Chapelle, L' Oeuvre de Camille Claudel, Catalogue raisonné, 1991, Paris, no. 28, illustrations of another cast & other versions pp. 130-34

Anne Rivière, Bruno Gaudichon & Danielle Ghannasia, Camille Claudel, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1996, no. 32.7, illustrated pp. 87-88, illustrations of another cast pp. 89 & 91

Anne Rivière, Bruno Gaudichon & Danielle Ghannasia, Camille Claudel, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1996, no. 33.7, illustrations of another cast p. 115


Very good condition. The bronze is structurally sound and bears a brown patina. A close inspection reveals light wear to the patina on the most protruding areas of the rock and on the male figure’s left buttock and foot. There is a small red media mark on the side of the rock, towards the base (level with the end of the female figure’s dress) and a small white media mark on the male figure’s leg. Apart from two tiny scratches to the male figure’s chest and some light verdigris to the rock, this work is in very good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

La Valse, Claudel's dynamic rendering of a couple in movement, is considered her among her best sculptures.  Claudel moved to Paris in the early 1880s from her family's farm in northern France to pursue a career in the plastic arts.   She was not even twenty years old when the sculptor Paul Dubois introduced her to Auguste Rodin and within a year she became an apprentice in his studio. Claudel and Rodin worked together for over a decade, during which time she flourished both as in indispensable figure in the Rodin studio and a virtuosic sculptor in her own right. Claudel not only produced unbelievably elegant and sensual masterpieces such as La Valse, she also contributed hands and feet (widely acknowledged to be the most demanding forms) to Rodin's most famous work La Porte de l'Enfer, and there is even speculation that she was the true creator of Rodin's celebrated Galatée (Mathias Morhardt, "Mlle. Camille Claudel," Mercure de France, 1898, p. 17).

The rhythm of the waltz in which these figures are engaged can be felt in the tension of the bodies and the whirl of the drapery. In another version, today known as the first, the figures are enveloped by drapery which climbs up and around their heads. In a second version the drapery is modified, so that the figures are now nude from the waist up. Variations also ensued within this second series, where the base on which the figures dance was modified and the placement of the man and woman's heads vary. The present work incorporates several of Claudel's modifications, as here the man's lips rest tenderly against the woman's cheek, rather than against her neck as in other versions. The drapery is also more worked than in other versions, and serves as a support for the two figures enveloped in their delicate and passionate dance.

The present bronze was cast in 1905 in a planned edition of 50, 25 of which were cast.  It has been noted that the La Valse series represents Claudel's, "most daring and personal works" and that with, "these works, Camille Claudel displayed a completely autonomous genius and takes a place among the greatest artists of the turn of the century" (Anne Rivière, Bruno Gaudichon & Danielle Ghanassia, op.cit., pp. 116-17).