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Aristide Maillol (1861 - 1944)

Lot 57: Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)


November 3, 2004
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


Torse de Marie
signed with monogram and numbered 'AM 4/6' (on the back of the figure's right leg); stamped with foundry mark '.Alexis Rudier..Fondeur Paris.' (on the back of the figure's left leg)
bronze with green patina
Height: 37 1/8 in (94.2 cm.)
Conceived in 1930 and cast at a later date

Artist or Maker

Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)


W. George, Aristide Maillol et l'âme de la sculpture, Neuchâtel, 1977, p. 245, no. 190 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 90).


Dina Vierny has confirmed the authenticity of this sculpture.

The first figure Maillol completed for his celebrated sculpture Les trois nymphes was the central standing nymph. The artist then began working on the two lateral figures using his maid Marie as the model. As was generally the case, Maillol would begin by modelling the torso, then he would later work the head and limbs. Waldemar George writes that Maillol's torsos "...are organisms and are perhaps more complete than anatomies which imitate nature with its flaws, failings, and imperfections."

While visting the Louvre with his patron Count Kessler one day, Maillol stopped in front of a statue of Venus, which had lain in the sea off the coast of Africa for so long that its details had been rounded and simplified by the action of waves. Turning to Count Kessler, the sculptor explained, "This figure shows me what is the essential plastic quality of a work of art. A sculpture must be beautiful even after the original surface has been lost and it has been worn down like a sea shell. This means that the essence of beauty endures all the same when one is in the presence of a true sculpture which possesses this miracle of harmony between the masses" (B. Lorquin, Aristide Maillol, Geneva, 1995, pp. 107 and 111).

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