Tribute to Camille Claudel

Photo: Véronique PagnierThere's long been a suspected connection between creativity and mental illness—but it's not often that mental hospitals publicly recognize their famous residents. 

Camille Claudel (1864-1943) was a French sculptor whose work is often overshadowed by the long and tumultuous affair she had with her mentor Auguste Rodin. Several years the relationship ended,  and just more than a week after Camille's father passed away in 1913, her family had her committed to an asylum, then called Montdevergues, where she spent the last 30 years of her life. She was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of her death, her psychiatric hospital, now called Montfavet, will host an exhibition of her sculptures called From Grace to Exile , starting March 30. There will also be a symposium, a play, and a ballet—in an effort to "explore the connections between art and madness."

An eponymous movie about Claudel's life was nominated for two Academy Awards in 1989. Later this year, a new film called Camille Claudel 1915 will be released in the US. Juliette Binoche plays the lead, but the director also cast current mental patients to play roles—controversial in and of itself.

in disorders