Monica Lundy – No Improvement
Dimensions: 30 x 22″ finished size
Medium: coffee and gouache on Fabriano paper
Lundy says about this work: “The exhibition, Physiognomy of the Abandoned, features portraits of patients from various historic, international asylums. Based on research conducted at various legendary psychiatric hospital archives, many of the portraits feature patients whose lives and stories have been long forgotten in time. While working with documents and images of the anonymous masses, I found myself reflecting on how this tragic history has also directly involved the lives of so many individuals of cultural significance, including famous artists, writers, musicians and many more. The two portraits, Camille and Virginia were born of my desire to shed light on this frequently over-looked fact. “Camille” is a portrait of the French sculptor Camille Claudel, who spent the last 30 years of her life in a psychiatric hospital. “Virginia” is a portrait of the English writer Virginia Woolf, who was admitted to psychiatric hospitals several times before she eventually took her own life. These portraits are meant to illuminate this aspect of history, and honor the individuals who endured them.”
Claudel died in a mental institution in 1943 in relative obscurity, but later gained recognition for the originality and quality of her work. The subject of several biographies and films, Claudel was also known as the apprentice and lover of the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The Camille Claudel Museum in Nogent-sur-Seine opened in 2017, and the Musée Rodin in Paris has a room dedicated to her works.
Sculptures created by Claudel are also held in the collections of several major museums including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.