14 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France
In 1885, the painter was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under the guidance of Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel.
Aristide Maillol and Dina Vierny.
After attending a local school in Banyuls-sur-Mer, Aristide was sent to Perpignan to further his education. At that time, he began to draw and develop his interest in art. In 1885, the painter was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under the guidance of Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel. But some time later, Aristide rejected his formal instruction, as he thought it was sterile and pointless.
In 1889, Maillol began to design tapestries. He was inspired by medieval examples he had seen before at the Musée de Cluny in Paris. Some time later, in 1893, the painter set up a small tapestry factory in Banyuls-sur-Mer and hired some local women to assist him. He made designs and dyed the wool to obtain colors, which couldn't be found in commercial wools. Maillol devoted too much time to his factory, that his eyesight began to fail.
About 1898, Maillol began to model in clay and soon he confined himself exclusively to sculpture. By 1900, Aristide had developed a style so distinctive and personally satisfying, that it was to undergo no critical change thereafter. He depicted only the human figure, especially the female nude. A fine example of his early work is "The Mediterranean" (1901), an epic, seated female figure.
In 1902, Maillol had his first one-man exhibition, which was a great success for him and led to a number of commissions. In 1904, Aristide established a studio in Marly-le-Roi in France. At that time, he traveled extensively, including visits to Greece, primarily to view ancient sculptures in the original. But seeing them caused no change in his work.
After 1905, he concentrated on modeling and bronze casting, the techniques he would follow throughout all his life. In 1906, Maillol was commissioned to design a monument in memory of the socialist Louis Blanqui, who had spent half of his life in prison in defense of his principles. For it, Maillol conceived his Chained Action, an aggressively striding female nude. This sculpture is not typical of his production.
In 1912, Aristide executed woodcuts for Virgil's "Eclogues". The same year, he created a monument to Paul Cézanne. It took him more than ten years to finish the work. Later, in 1931, he made lithographs to illustrate Emile Verhaeren's "Belle Chair".
In 1939, Aristide resumed painting, but sculpture remained his favourite medium. Though Maillol’s connection to the art of the past was strong, his interest in form and geometry helped pave the way for abstract sculptors, such as Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp.
"Carving is a source of joy to the artist. To attack the raw material, gradually to extract a shape out of it following one's own desire, or, sometimes, the inspiration of the material itself: this gives the sculptor great joy."
"I express myself in sculpture since I am not a poet."
In July 1896, Aristide Maillol married Clotilde Narcis, who was one of his employees at his factory. Their only son, Lucian, was born in October of that year.