The Third Time of the Waltz

Vendredi 26 mai 2017

Art Hit Parade, Pierre Tavlitzki

From her childhood Camille Claudel is passionate about creating shapes by kneading clay. In 1882, aged 18, she opens a studio and meets Rodin. As an assistant, practitioner and model of the master, she understands that her emotions can generate another more feminine style, even more explicit in the expression of the attraction between man and woman.

She designs her group Les Valseurs from 1889. They are closely entwined and completely nude, occupied by the rapid movement of the dance and by their erotic desire. In 1892, happy with her achievement, she tries to obtain official orders according to the practice of that time.

The artwork is too bold and the expression of naked love by a woman is ahead of its time. Camille accepted the judgment of the first inspector and surrounded the woman with a whirling veil. She also changed the title : La Valse is better suited to attract the viewer's attention to the expression of movement through sculpture rather than to the ardor of the sexual desire.

Only one bronze was made on this very first version of La Valse. Cast in 1893 by Siot-Decauville, 96 cm high, it was sold for £ 5.1M including premium by Sotheby's on June 19, 2013.

The government is still not convinced and Siot-Decauville does not make promotional efforts for this young woman with sulphurous themes. Camille, who had yielded her rights for La Valse to Siot-Decauville, multiplies the variants in her plasters and sandstones and has some unauthorized bronzes made by other founders. The woman's veil is lightened, releasing the upper body, and the elongated train brings a significant increase in the effect of movement.

One of these bronzes 47 cm high in a sand cast without hollow was sold or presented around 1900 to a friend of Rodin. The heirs, maddened by its immodesty, put the sculpture in a closet more than one hundred years ago. It has just resurfaced and will be sold on June 11 by Rouillac in the annual garden-party sale at the château d'Artigny, lot 170 estimated € 500K. Here is the link to the essay published by the auction house (English version).

La Valse finally found its sponsor after 1902 when Blot bought the first bronze and the rights to Siot-Decauville. Blot published La Valse from 1905 in two sizes : 24 copies of a 46 cm high bronze and 4 copies for the smaller version.

Please watch the video shared by Culturebox including an interview of the auctioneer Aymeric Rouillac.
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