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Musée Maillol


A move towards sculpture

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. 


Success at the Salon d'Automne

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).


Encounter with Dina Vierny

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.


Return to the source

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.


Death of Aristide Maillol

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. 


International artist

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.