new-york

Aristide Maillol

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

Aristide Maillol’s work lies between French academicism and 20th-century sculptural experiments. He was trained as a painter at the École des Beaux-Arts but, after meeting Gauguin and the Nabis, he abandoned academicism for decorative sculpture and painting. In the 1890s he began producing small statuettes of women in terra cotta and wood, something he continued to do at intervals throughout his career. In 1902 he made his first monumental sculpture. Never feeling the need, like Giacometti, to come to terms with Cubism, the remainder of Maillol’s career, as this major retrospective reveals, involved a replication of a limited repertoire of full-fleshed female figures. His celebration of the female figure is never in ordinary human terms. Some, in the truest sense of the phase, are “vest-pocket Venuses,” while others are monumental women drawn from a race of Amazons in our primordial past.

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