He met Clotilde Narcis, who became one of his models, at his workshop. They married in Paris on 7 July 1896. On 30 October the artist's only son, Lucien, was born in Banyuls-sur-Mer. He also became a painter.
Maillol often invited his friends, known as the "Nabis" or "Prophets", to his home: Maurice Denis, Ker Xavier Roussel, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard and later Henri Matisse. These artists would remain close friends throughout their lives. Maillol then began working exclusively on sculpture. He made terracotta pieces that were much admired by his friends, and were depicted in several of their works.
Maillol had his first major success at the Salon d'Automne in 1905 with the Méditerranée (Mediterranean) plaster sculpture. Kessler commissioned a monumental stone version of this sculpture from Maillol, a high relief piece called Le Désir (Desire), then a half life-size sculpture, Le Jeune Cycliste (the Young Cyclist). His friends Gustave Geffroy and Octave Mirbeau got him a commission for a monument from Auguste Blanqui, called l'Action enchaînée (chain reaction). He did a portrait of Renoir in 1907 in Cagnes and he also worked on the sculpture La Nuit (The Night).
In 1934, Aristide Maillol, at the peak of his fame, met Dina Vierny who was then 15 years old. She soon became his model and close collaborator and continued to work with him until his death. Between 1937 and 1944, Maillol produced the monumental sculptures L'Air (Air), La Montage (Montage), La Rivière (River) with Dina as his model.
Dina Vierny worked hard to bring the works of Maillol to a wider audience, and to create a museum dedicated to him.
Maillol retired to Banyuls in September 1939. He wanted to escape the folly of mankind. He lived alone in the mountains and began painting again. He began work on his final statue, Harmonie (Harmony), which he never finished. With the help of Dina Vierny, he began preparing an inventory of his oeuvre. He did a lot of drawing and painting.
On 15 September 1944, Maillol decided to visit Raoul Dufy in Vernet-Les-Bains. As Dr Nicolau was driving him there by car, they were involved in a serious accident. Maillol's jaw was damaged. He could no longer talk. He died at home of uremia in Banyuls on 27 September.
Maillol exhibited a plaster statue called Pomone at the Salon d'Automne in 1910, which had considerable success in the international art press. The Russian collector Morozov bought it, and commissioned three more sculptures: L'Eté (Summer), Le Printemps (Spring), La Flore (Flora).
Maillol was also commissioned by Cézanne to produce a monument for the town of Aix-en-Provence. It was moved to the Tuileries Garden in Paris in 1929.
Maillol's first solo exhibition outside of France was held in the Netherlands from 13 April to 4 May 1913. It included 8 very large sculptures, plaster models, Pomone, Flore, 5 drawings and 60 photographs of other Maillol pieces by Eugène Druet. The same year, several of his pieces were exhibited in the US, at the famous Armory Show. In 1928, he exhibited at the Goupil Gallery in London, then in Berlin, at Flechtheim. In 1933, he had a major exhibition at the Brummer Gallery in New York. The same year, a retrospective was dedicated to him at the Kunsthalle in Basel.
In the decades following the construction of the fountain, the convent began to erect some of the building's basic structures, which are now part of the rooms of the museum.
In the 19th century, the building was home to some famous figures, such as the poet Alfred de Musset, who lived there for many years with his mother. The painter Paul Jacques Aimé Baudry also had a vast workshop there, which was faithfully conserved during the renovation of the museum, and which now hosts the life-size sculptures of Maillol, on the second floor.