Banyuls-sur-Mer 1861 - Banyuls-sur-Mer 1944
Born in Banyuls-sur-Mer on December 8th 1861, Aristide Maillol studied in Perpignan where he was first awarded a drawing prize. From 1885 to 1893, he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris where his first professors were Cabanel and Gerôme. Friend of Paul Gauguin, he began sculpting in 1895. He also made tapestries and Nabi style paintings and then, dedicated himself exclusively to sculpture.
Around 1889, through his friend Bourdelle, he met Bonnard, Roussel, Denis and Vuillard. Ten years later, he met Picasso before establishing a deep relationship with Matisse from 1905.
In 1902 he showed his works in a solo exhibition organized by Ambroise Vollard in Paris and regularly exhibited at the Salon d'Automne from 1904. In 1913, Aristide Maillol participated in the Armory Show in New York.
His style favoured sensual female bodies, smooth and rounded volumes. His representations are recognized for their imposing peace and severe faces. Maillol?s art was influenced by ancient civilizations, especially Greece, Egypt and India.
The artist who did not abandoned painting, created many masterpieces as The Night, The Two Thinkers, Pomona, The Latin Thought or Standing Woman with drapery.
Maillol, as a genuine creator of forms, made a revolution as much important as the one led by Rodin. However, Maillol remained « classic » in his modernity as he had never been tempted by any avant-garde movement, such as Cubism. If his sculptures lacked the nervousness and lyricism of Rodin?s, they always gave an impression of joy of life and deep sweetness that made them immortal.
During the 1930's, Maillol sculpted Dina Vierny, his most important model closely associated with his work before becoming the guardian of his memory and who created in 1995 a museum carrying his name, in Paris.