signature d'Odette Camp


OLIVIER SCHMITT–24-25 July 1983
ODETTE CAMP at the CARNAVALET - Drawing on memory -

In 1980, the Museum happily received a donation of forty sketches by Odette Camp which she herself assembled under the name “Bygone Paris”. Leaving aside pencils and charcoal, she invented an original technique using India ink and twigs, allowing her to portray a very black and white capital - a Paris of stone in chiaroscuro.


There is nothing here of the hackneyed Paris of guidebooks and magazines, nothing of the glittering Paris of boulevards and avenues. It is the timeless Paris tucked away behind thick walls that the artist favored. She ingeniously carried out her reconstruction with the precision of a meticulous investigator, from her finest, subtlest stroke for the Quai de la Marne, in the 19 th arrondissement, to her boldest and thickest for the high black walls of the Rue des Jardins St. Paul.

One fine day, the Viaduc d’Auteuil was demolished - she was there to bear tender witness to the removal of the bridge piers. On Rue Vilin, in the 20 th arrondissement, she took her twigs in hand to render a mansion surrounded by staircases before the winds of modernism could blow it away. Industrious Paris, the Paris of ateliers, also came under the eye of Odette Camp. The publishing houses, like those of the Passage St. Sébastien, or the printing presses, like that of the Passage des Singes; the shop of an “upholsterer- mattress -cabinetmaker”, Rue du Grenier-sur-l’Eau; a knitting factory, Rue Baudricourt; an enameller with a kiln, Place St. Blaise…


Discretely, through the detour of her sketches, Odette Camp joined the contingent of those who object to the excessive renovation of the Capital. On the wall of a condemned building awaiting demolition, Rue des Jardins St. Paul, she noted the slogan: “No to expulsion without relocation”. One of her last drawings captures the silhouette of a small house on the Rue de Romainville: stone facade, quirky upper floor, wood fencing, and a black, naked tree. There is a dream here which surprises and overwhelms. The Paris which lives in the hearts of Parisians re-emerges - it is a Paris of simplicity and modesty. The work of Odette Camp is precious, irreplaceable. A tranquil and dense memory, her art has become a necessity.

presse Odette Camp