The other day researching something about Rodin
Though the papers say she 'voluntarily committed' herself, only Paul Claudel and the doctor's signature are on the admitting records of a mental asylum in the north at the beginning of WW1. She'd become paranoid, was diagnosed as schizophrenic. As WWI was fought in nearby battlefields, the authorities moved Camille and the other inmates down South near Avignon.
After thirty years in the asylum she died in 1943 in Montdevergues Asylum outside Avignon. No family came and she was buried in a communal grave.
This stunned me. I had no clue that Camille lived that long. What a sad loss. I tried to imagine if she'd been released and the art she would have created. It seems amazing she lived and no one else took up her cause for release. How she'd been forgotten for so long.
But on Ile St. Louis in Paris in a courtyard there is this plaque in front of what had once been Camille's atelier where she lived and worked. In her time the atelier - on the ground floor - would have cheap, damp, freezing in the winter, next to the horses and by the carriage house. Now it's expensive, chic and home to the elite. Camille lived her until she was committed.
At the bottom it reads: there is always something absent that torments me.
I wish Camille had gotten a chance in her life behind walls to find it.
But at least she's remembered.
On the Passing of Colin Dexter
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