Dina Vierny, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner
This figure of a reclining bather is the stylistic precursor to a war memorial that Maillol created in 1922 for the city of Port -Vendres. Both the present work and the Port-Vendres memorial are related to Maillol's monumental Monument à Cézanne, which the artist had begun in 1912 and later finished in 1925. The present work, therefore, is an important first conceptualization of a figure that would come to define the artist's career.
Maillol's reclining bather has several stylistic precedents that range from Classical Greek sculpture to representations of nudes by Renoir and Puvis de Chavannes. Considering the formal significance of Maillol's sculpture, Waldemar George has written the following: "It is the art of a monumental spirit. Solid, rounded mass; frontal or lateral composition; regular contours; monolithic blocks. The atmospheric illusions of the Impressionists were followed by Cézanne's prismatic form while Rodin's intense dynamism led to a frozen cadence. Maillol's figures have no diverse profiles to attach them to surrounding air. They have only four sides and are rigorously isolated in space. Like buildings against a clear sky they seem to shine with their own light. Every figure is limited by the confines of its frame" (Waldemar George, Aristide Maillol, New York, 1965, p. 11).
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