Artist biography

Aristide Maillol 1861-1944

French sculptor, painter, lithographer, wood-engraver and tapestry designer. Born at Banyuls (Pyrenées-Orientales). Went to Paris in 1881 to become a painter; entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Gérôme and Cabanel 1885. Met Bourdelle and Gauguin. Inspired by medieval tapestry, set up a tapestry studio in 1893 at Banyuls. Began to make sculpture in 1895, but did not decide to devote himself to sculpture until serious eyestrain made him give up tapestry in 1900. Friendship with the Nabis Denis, Vuillard, Bonnard, Roussel. His first sculptures were carved wooden statuettes, but from 1900 he mainly modelled figures to be cast in bronze. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Vollard, Paris, 1902. Settled in 1903 at Marly-le-Roi on the outskirts of Paris, but continued to spend winters in the South. After years of poverty, achieved recognition in 1905 when his first large statue 'The Mediterranean' was acclaimed at the Salon d'Automne. Subsequently received a number of commissions for monuments, including war memorials for Céret and Banyuls and monuments to Blanqui, Cézanne and Debussy. Noted for his classical and monumental treatment of the female figure. Made woodcut illustrations for Virgil's Eclogues 1910-12 (published 1925) and several other books. Spent his last years from 1939 at Banyuls, where he died.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.465