Auguste Rodin (1840 -1917)
Letter from Auguste Rodin to Camille Claudel
Ink on paper
H. 21 cm ; W. 27 cm
"My ferocious friend". Thus begins Rodin’s desperate cry of love to Camille Claudel in the early years of their relationship. Rodin was soon captivated by this pupil who became his assistant, mistress and muse, while Claudel outwardly remained in complete control of her feelings. Consumed and tormented by an obsessive love, he implores her – “on his knees” – to ease his suffering from beginning to end of this letter,written in a muddled style, with erroneous syntax and imperfect spelling.
It is a unique document in which Rodin, overwhelmed by his feelings, has no other choice but to open his heart sincerely and truthfully. The rare documents in the museum archives – five letters from Rodin and about fifteen from Camille Claudel – often elated in tone, attest to this very intense and troubled relationship whose tragic ending is well known.
"Je t’embrasse les mains mon amie, toi qui me donnes des jouissances si élevées, si ardentes, près de toi, mon âme existe avec force et, dans sa fureur d’amour, ton respect est toujours au dessus. Le respect que j’ai pour ton caractère, pour toi ma Camille est une cause de ma violente passion. ne me traite pas impitoyablement je te demande si peu."