Lot 7
  • 7

Camille Claudel

400,000 - 600,000 GBP
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  • Camille Claudel
  • Buste d'Auguste Rodin
  • inscribed Camille Claudel and incised with the caduceus mark
  • bronze
  • height: 40cm.
  • 15 3/4 in.


(probably) Daniel Baud-Bovy, Geneva

Alfred Baud, Geneva (by descent)

Private Collection, Belgium (acquired in 1990. Sold: Brussels Art Auctions, Brussels, 19th June 2012, lot 276)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Edmond Pottier, 'Les Salons de 1892', in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1892, mentioned p. 34

Gustave Geffroy, 'Le Salon de 1893', in La Vie Artistique, Paris, 1893, mentioned p. 337

Henri de Braisne, La Revue Idéaliste, Paris, October 1897

Mathias Morhardt, Mercure de France, Paris, March 1898, mentioned pp. 729-730

Robert Descharnes & François Chabrun, Auguste Rodin, Lausanne, 1967

Alain Beausire, Quand Rodin exposait, Paris, 1988, other casts listed pp. 116, 118, 125, 159, 228 & 242

Reine-Marie Paris & Arnaud de La Chapelle, L'Œuvre de Camille Claudel, Paris, 1990, no. 24, illustration of another cast p. 121; detail of the present cast illustrated p. 122

Gérard Bouté, Camille Claudel. Le miroir et la nuit, Paris, 1995, illustration of another cast p. 69; other casts listed p. 226

Anne Rivière, Bruno Gaudichon & Danielle Ghanassia, Camille Claudel, catalogue raisonné, Paris, 2001, no. 22, illustration of another cast p. 85

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Camille Claudel & Rodin: Time will Heal Everything, Paris, 2013, illustration of another cast p. 28


Rich dark brown patina. Apart from some areas of wear to the patina that have been retouched, mainly on the protruding locks of hair, 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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

An intense portrayal of her fellow sculptor and lover, Camille Claudel's Buste d'Auguste Rodin is a testament to the artistic and personal relationship between two important figures who influenced the development of modern sculpture. 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, as well as his muse, confidante and lover. Claudel and Rodin worked together for over a decade, during which time she flourished both as an indispensable figure in Rodin’s studio and a virtuosic sculptor in her own right. Antoinette Le Normand-Romain commented: ‘Her sculptures were modelled with the extraordinary accuracy and intensity of expression which had characterised Rodin’s work throughout the 1880s, whilst perhaps endowing them with more powerful emotion, as her work was the direct expression of her feelings’ (A. Le Normand-Romain, op. cit., p. 35).

While Rodin executed several portraits of his companion, Claudel only produced the present bust image of Rodin and a charcoal drawing (fig. 1). This unembellished and intense, almost wild portrayal stands in sharp contrast to the sensuous, soft renderings that Rodin produced of his muse (fig. 2). Antoinette Le Normand-Romain described the present composition as: ‘a thin-faced, youthful Rodin, whose broad forehead and strong nose give the very image of strong will and the power of creation. This “patient” and “thoughtful” work, characterised by a very in-depth analysis of his physiognomy, was carried out in 1888-1889; it was abandoned and then taken up again, because Rodin seldom posed’ (ibid., p. 27).

Claudel executed three plaster versions of this work, two of which are at the Musée Rodin, Paris and one at Musée de Roubaix, as well as a wax-patinated plaster, now at the Musée Ziem, Martigues. The first bronze, which was originally owned by Rodin and is now at the Musée Rodin in Paris, was cast by AD Gruet Ainé in 1892 and was exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts that year. Subsequently 15 further casts were commissioned by Mercure de France and were cast by François Rudier in Paris. Several of these casts are now in public collections: Musée Municipal, Guéret; Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie, Aurillac; Musée du Petit-Palais, Paris; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco and Museo Soumaya, Mexico City. Claudel had an agreement with Mercure de France that she would chase the caduceus sign - in ancient Roman mythology the winged staff entwined by two serpents carried by Mercury, the messenger of the gods. However, eventually she only chased the sign on the first few casts, and the present work is one of only three known casts to bear the caduceus.