I could probably write a novel on my thoughts about Camille Claudel. This photograph (by l’enfer) is the first photograph I’ve seen of “La Valse (The Waltz)” that begins to grasp the depth of feeling in her work.
I first came across Claudel, when I was in an undergraduate art history class. I wrote a paper then that argued that she was more than simply Rodin’s muse. She was the creative force that brought Rodin new popularity later in life. She worked directly on pieces for which he gained credit, including “Gates of Hell” and “Burghers of Calais.”
There are many arguments for why this was perhaps even common practice at that time, but since she helped him with a lot of his work, there are very few pieces attributed to her directly. One of them, and one that shows her genius in expression as a sculptor, is “La Valse.” The solid bronze seems to melt and twist to an inaudible melody.
Although there are stories of a relationship between Claudel and Claude Debussy, the details are vague. It seems to be true, however, that he had a copy of “La Valse” either on his piano or on his mantle piece. . .