C.C. (2): an economic biography

Summary: C.C. was financially supported by her family and had some short-lived commercial success in mid life; a few years later she was committed to a mental hospital where she spent the remainder of her life.

1864: is born in France to a family of farmers and gentry; her father is involved in mortgage broking and banking transactions.

age 18: after private studies with sculptor A.M. (because women are not allowed in art schools), she opens a sculpture workshop with other women, with financial support from her father.

ca. age 20: she begins working in the studio of a famous sculptor, A.R., and they begin a passionate relationship as a result of which she is forced to leave her family’s house.

ca. age 28: she has an unwanted abortion and ends her relationship with A.R.

age 39: begins showing in important venues and has some limited commercial success.

ca. age 41: begins showing some signs of mental illness.

age 49: her father, who has been financially supporting her throughout her life, dies. She enters a psychiatric hospital at the instigation of her brother, possibly involuntarily.

age 50: she is transferred to a different hospital on the outbreak of World War I.

ages 49-78: she is kept in psychiatric hospitals against doctors’ advice, as her family refuses to take her in.

age 78: she dies in the asylum where she has spent her final 30 years.

postscript: C.C. destroyed much of her work, and less than 100 pieces survive. Eight years after her death, an exhibition of her work was mounted in the museum dedicated to her lover and mentor A.R. Interest in her work has steadily gained ground since then, and prices for it have soared into the mid six figures.