Lot 3
  • 3

Aristide Maillol

bidding is closed


  • Aristide Maillol
  • La Montagne, premier état
  • inscribed with the artist’s monogram, numbered Epreuve de l’artiste 2 and inscribed with the foundry mark E. Godard Fondeur Paris
  • lead
  • 193 by 212 by 103cm.
  • 76 by 83 1/2 by 40 1/2 in.


Musée Maillol, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner


John Rewald, Aristide Maillol, 1861-1944, Paris, 1950, illustration of the plaster version p. 48
Hommage à Aristide Maillol (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1961, illustration of the stone version
Waldemar George, Aristide Maillol, Neuchâtel, 1965, photograph of the artist with the plaster cast p. 51
Waldemar George, Maillol, Paris, 1971, illustration of the bronze cast p. 38
Aristide Maillol: 1861-1944 (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1975, illustration of the bronze cast pl. 98
Bertrand Lorquin, Maillol au Tuileries, Paris, 1991, illustrations of the lead version pp. 20-22
Bertrand Lorquin, Aristide Maillol, London, 1995, illustrations of the lead version pp. 136 & 138 

Catalogue Note

La Montagne is the culmination of Aristide Maillol’s interest in the form of the seated female nude. Maillol’s first exploration of this theme was in the early 1900s, with his sculptures La Nuit (1909) and La Méditerranée (1905), the latter of which bears a striking resemblance to La Montagne. When La Méditerranée was first exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, it received a mixed response with critic André Gide commenting: ‘She is beautiful and meaningless’. The critic's quibble was one of fashion: in contrast to the sculptural vogue of the time, which took its lead from Rodin and his exploration of emotion, Maillol had opted for simplicity of form and expression.  

These are the elements which continued to inform Maillol’s representations of the seated female nude and have come to define his most successful works, gifting them with a timeless beauty. The sheer size of La Montagne renders it an extremely powerful monument, but the soft lines, sinuous curves and gentle features make it equally a statement of elegance and poise. It was the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris which commissioned the first monumental version of La Montagne in stone in 1936. Famed photographer Brassaï was asked to visit the artist at his studio and photograph him while he worked on the giant plaster version. These photographs today form a wonderful archive on the history of the model, which is celebrated as one of the artist’s most important late works and one of his most enduringly popular.

La Montagne in its monumental lead form can also be seen in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris and the additional casts from the edition are in significant collections around the world, including Canberra Museum, Australia; The Israel Museum, Tel Aviv; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri, and Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena. The present work is the very final cast from the edition.