Maillol was born in the countryside and loved the land, endlessly depicting it. He was trained as a painter and learned from the Nabis how to simplify planes. He aimed at purity of line. As his eyesight began to fail around the turn of the century, he devoted himself almost exclusively to sculpture. His work in that field embodies the “return to style,” the revival of a classical quality. Critics often compared Maillol to Rodin: the one tormented, the other calm, and yet both modellers, lovers of the female body and admirers of ancient Greek sculpture. However, where Rodin fragmented his shapes, contorting and varying them, Maillol constructed, stabilized and refined his material. Always working from the trunk outwards, he pruned the limbs, producing rounded, fruit-like, fecund shapes. There is no story behind the image: it is always the same high-breasted, round-hipped woman. This bronze is a single edition made under Maillol’s supervision after his plaster model of about 1932 (Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington).
© Estate of Aristide Maillol / SOCAN (2020)