The Burrell Collection has acquired a bronze by French sculptor Camille Claudel, becoming the first public UK collection to do so.
The bronze, entitled L’Implorante, is the museum’s first acquisition in ten years and the first sculpture by a woman in The Collection. Claudel was a contemporary and close collaborator of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), whose work is synonymous with the museum.
Glasgow Life, the charity which operates The Burrell Collection, purchased the sculpture with support from the Burrell Trustees, National Fund for Acquisitions, Art Fund and Henry Moore Foundation.
The currently closed museum will reopen in March 2022, following a major building upgrade and redisplay.
L’Implorante will initially be displayed as part of the inaugural exhibition in the newly designed Special Exhibition and Event space in the Burrell Collection.
The free exhibition, due to open late summer 2022, will explore the legacy of Sir William Burrell as a man and collector and his motivations to establish an internationally renowned museum for the people of Glasgow and beyond.
Professor Frances Fowle, Senior Trustee, Sir William Burrell Trust, said Claudel was an important role model for women sculptors at the turn of the twentieth century.
“The sculpture will perfectly complement the museum’s important holding of works by Auguste Rodin, with whom Claudel’s career was so closely aligned,” Fowle said.
The kneeling figure was first modelled as part of a larger, three-figure group, L’Âge Mûr (Maturity) in 1895-98, which depicts a middle-aged man being led away from the youthful figure shown in L’Implorante.
Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said the new piece demonstrates the Burrell is “not a static collection, but one that embraces change and responds to the world around it.”
Dr Hazel Williamson, National Fund for Acquisitions Manager, said:
We’re particularly pleased that NFA support will allow Claudel’s powerful sculpture to take its place alongside work by Rodin when The Burrell Collection opens next year, bringing the work of this uniquely talented artist to new audiences.