Discovered five years ago in the cellar of a lunatic asylum, the psychiatric files concerning Camille Claudel, mistress and aide of Auguste Rodin, have finally been released on September 15th 2000.
After separating from Rodin in 1898, Camille Claudel progressively became paranoid and was confined in the lunatic asylum of Ville-Evrard, near Paris, on March 10th 1913.
Camille, who was somewhat protected by her father was the victim of a plot engineered by her mother after the latter died on March 2nd 1913. She had been mentally ill for several years, notably feeling persecuted by what she called «Rodin's gang».
After Rodin left her, she only created one single sculpture, «Niohide wounded», which she only completed in 1906. She was already living as a recluse in her flat of the quai Bourbon in Paris but as long as her father lived she had managed to eschew her mother's attempts to have her sent to a lunatic asylum.
Her mother considered Camille as a disgrace for her family while her brother Paul, a diplomat and also a famous writer, did not try to come to her defence.
As soon as her father died, her mother got in touch with a doctor to order a confinement in an asylum.
According to French law, the signatures of a doctor and a relative on a document was enough to have Camille placed at Ville-Evrard provided the renewal of such order every month.
Camille's mother was aged 73 when she decided to confine her in that lunatic asylum from which she was sent in 1915 to another institution, in Montdevergues, near Avignon, southern France, where she died in 1943.
There were some 2000 patients in the asylum of Ville-Evrard and the doctor in charge of Camille's dossier, noted on her arrival that she was paranoid, notably feeling persecuted and victim of «criminal attacks from a famous sculptor» (Rodin).
Camille was 48-year-old when she was sent to Ville-Evrard where she was described as suffering from paranoid madness. She was then weighing 73 kilos, a fact suggesting that she might have been a heavy drinker.