The Musée Camille Claudel opened on Sunday, March 26, in the small French town of Nogent-sur-Seine, southeast of Paris, reports Maev Kennedy of The Guardian. The museum holds the world’s largest collection of the artist’s works. Claudel’s career struggled under the shadow of Auguste Rodin, who was at one point her lover. (Constantin Brancusi, who was once Rodin’s studio assistant, famously said of working with Rodin, “Nothing grows under the shade of great trees.”)
Claudel’s family lived in Nogent-sur-Seine for only four years, but it was there, at the age of twelve, that she first began making sculptures from local clay. The town is also known for being the setting of Gustave Flaubert’s 1869 novel A Sentimental Education.
The museum, designed by Adelfo Scaranello architects, was paid for by the town—the new structure wraps itself around the old Claudel home. The interest in a museum dedicated to Claudel came out of a 2003 exhibition of the artist’s work in Nogent-sur-Seine. The show attracted more than forty thousand visitors to an area with a population of six thousand.