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Camille Claudel
Birth Date: 
Death Date: 
Although her family opposed her intention from childhood to become a sculptor, the strong-willed Claudel prevailed. She worked with a single-mindedness seldom seen in one so young. The protege of Alfred Boucher from her thirteenth year, Claudel did not meet Rodin, her second mentor, until 1882, but their acquaintance rapidly developed into a mutual obsession, which more than made up for the brevity of their time together. Even after their separation in 1893, caused, supposedly, by Rodin's refusal to marry Claudel, the alleged mother of two of his children, Rodin continued to try to intervene on his former pupil's behalf, hoping to obtain recognition and commissions for her. His interest in and, indeed, his fascination with Claudel continued until his death. Claudel's vocational and personal life are nearly inseparable from Rodin's. It is ironic that she is known today predominantly through her relationship with the man by whom she felt rejected and with whom she competed in several arenas. During the decade of their close association Rodin so respected Claudel's skill that he allowed her to model the hands and feet ofmany of his sculptures, including The Burghers of Calais. On her own afler 1893, Claudel grew increasingly independent and isolated, eventually developing the severe emotional illness that resulted in her involuntary hospitalization in 1913. Her condition was marked by a devastating cyclical pattern of creative productivity and frenzied destruction of her work.