Daily Management Review

Rediscovering Claude de Soria, Sculptor of Cement


The Paris studio of the artist, who died seven years ago, has just opened to the public. Her splendid work, which fell into oblivion in the 2000s, raised cement to the rank of a noble material.

© André Morain
© André Morain
For nearly 40 years, Claude de Soria (1926–2015) spent most of her time in a bright studio at 221 boulevard Raspail in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. "She never really lived there,” says her daughter, historian Pascale Bernheim. “But here was the "studio", her space. When she needed a break, she’d lie down on the bed in the loft or eat in the small kitchen […] She enjoyed showing her work and hosting her friends there." In a 753.4 square foot (70 sq. m) space with north-facing windows, a selection of works is exhibited on a large white shelf near sculptures placed on saddles, large “Lames” ("Blades") and trestles in the middle of the main room.

The loft leads to a library with her art books and smaller works. Long “Aiguilles” ("Needles") arranged in rows near an armada of round "Plaques", “Disques” ("Discs") and “Empilements” ("Stacks") are on the walls. It is a peaceful atmosphere in a thousand elegant shades of gray highlighted here and there by the warm tint of the wood. The sandy color and the immaculate white of the walls are in perfect harmony with the floor. "In 1973,” Ms. Bernheim recalls, “the studio was covered with a judo mat. The walls were yellow and the moldings red [...] When the mat was removed, the cement floor was revealed. [...] It suited my mother, who didn’t touch it."

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