The Wave or The Bathers

Camille Claudel (1864 -1943)

1897-1903 (?)

Onyx marble, Bronze

H. 62 cm ; W. 56 cm ; D. 50 cm


Shown in its plaster version at the Salon in 1897,The Wave, like The Gossips, was made almost entirely by Camille Claudel herself. The three identical small female figures all bend their knees at the sight of the huge wave of onyx marble about to break over their heads. It may be seen as an image of destiny, as found in several other works by the artist during this period.


Stylistically, the choice of semi-precious materials, like onyx marble, shows Claudel’s affinity with Charles Cordier and with her contemporaries’ attraction to play of colour and the natural polychromy of materials. Here the bronze dialogues with the greens of the stone.


Influenced by Japanese art, similar in colour and form to Hokusai’s famous woodblock print, The Wave is a decorative work that gives priority to light and heralds Claudel’s later series – her Chimney-pieces (Deep Thought, Fireside Dream) – in which the combinations of materials play such a fundamental role.


Photo : © ADAGP, Paris, 2012

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