Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)
Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)
Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)
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Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)
5 More
Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)

Petite Flore nue

Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)
Petite Flore nue
signed with monogram (on the top of the base); numbered and inscribed with foundry mark '3/6 A. BINGEN et COSTENOBLE Fondeur Paris.' (on the back of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 25 ½ in. (64.6 cm.)
Conceived in 1907; this bronze version cast by 1913
Dina Vierny, Paris.
Jeffrey H. Loria & Co., New York (acquired from the above, 2002).
Acquired from the above by the present owner, January 2003.
W. George, Aristide Maillol et l'âme de la sculpture, Neuchâtel, 1977, pp. 146 and 246 (another cast illustrated, p. 166).
Further details
The late Dina Vierny confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Sale room notice
This Lot is Withdrawn.

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Lot Essay

Petite Flore nue is Maillol’s sensual tribute to Flora, the ancient Roman goddess of spring and flowers. Conceived in 1907, this work foreshadows the large Flore from 1911, commissioned by Ivan Abramovich Morosov as part of a group of figures to represent the four seasons. Flore stands unmoving, yet graceful and dignified. As the depiction of female perfection, she demonstrates Maillol’s refined, sumptuous vision of nature. According to Linda K. Kramer, "Flora nevertheless contains something of a young woman from Banyuls. Her head is based on that of young girl Maillol saw on the street, which he modeled in clay as she passed by" (Aristide Maillol: Pioneer of Modern Sculpture, Ph.D. Diss., New York University, 2000, p. 157). Flore is an example of Maillol's efforts to fuse earthly sensuality with the formal stylistic motifs of the ancient world and his Mediterranean heritage. Representing the natural world, springtime, regeneration and fecundity, Flora was a favorite allegorical subject for many artists, who took her to represent the beneficence of creativity. Maillol envisioned in her attributes a conception of woman as the very embodiment of nature in its totality.
During this period, Maillol was greatly influenced by Paul Gauguin, who had recently exhibited his carvings from his Oceanic journeys and who introduced Maillol to the expressive power inherent in working directly with original materials. With the exception of Maillol, most of his generation of artists, including Charles Despiau and Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, had worked as assistants to Auguste Rodin and had adopted various academic transfer techniques popular with Western sculptors in preference to direct carving. Maillol, however, considered himself a craftsman and, as such, saw no distinction between art and craft. Thus there was no discontinuity between artist and medium nor a distinction between the conception and execution.
John Rewald has observed that “To celebrate the human body, particularly the feminine body, seems to have been Maillol's only aim. He did this in a style from which all grandiloquence is absent, a style almost earthbound and grave. The absence of movement, however, is compensated by a tenderness and charm distinctively his own; and while all agitation is foreign to his art, there is in his work, especially in his small statuettes, such quiet grace and such warm feeling that they never appear inanimate. He has achieved a peculiar balance between a firmness of forms which appear eternal and a sensitivity of expression—even sensuousness—which seems forever quivering and alive” (exh. cat., Aristide Maillol, Rosenberg & Co., New York, 1958, pp. 6-7).

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