Camille Claudel and RodinFar from Paris, during the 1890s, L' Islette sheltered the tempestuous love affair between the two great sculptors Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin.
A place of creation and a source of inspiration, it is where Rodin worked on his famous 'Balzac', the statue that was commissioned by the Société des Gens de Lettres (Society of Men of Letters) in August 1891.
You have asked me .... to write with my opinion on your statue of Balzac: I find it very large and very beautiful and the best among all your designs for the same subject ... in conclusion, I believe that you should expect a great success especially with the real connoisseurs who will find no comparison between this statue and all those which, up to now, have decorated the city of Paris. " (Camille Claudel)
Camille Claudel herself created one of her major works here - the 'Little Châtelaine', for which her model was the granddaughter of the owners of the castle at that time.
Camille Claudel completed four versions of this bust, differing in their hairstyle.
"There is ... in the very disproportion of this too powerful, too life-like head, already much too open to the eternal mysteries and the delicately childish shoulders which it reveals, something undefinable which communicates a deep anguish ... The bust proves ... that Miss Camille Claudel is henceforth a master" (Mathias Morhardt).
The château still holds echoes of their presence.
« You cannot imagine how good it is to be at L'Islette ... and it is so pretty here!. …
If you are nice, and keep your promise we will know what paradise is like. »
(Camille Claudel to Rodin)
- Portrait of RODIN with a crew cut and lorgnettes by Nadar, around 1891 © Rodin Museum.