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Maillol's Miniatures at the Norton Simon

Post #1215 • July 28, 2008, 6:03 PM • 13 Comments

Pasadena - The Norton Simon has impressive Maillol holdings, including some scattered around its pond to beautiful effect. (Some spectacular dragonflies, red with silver wingtips, were flitting about as well.) I've always had a lot of fondness for Maillol. I see in them what Puvis du Chavannes was trying to do somewhat less successfully in paint - to emphasize the timeless geometry of the figure. In Maillol's case, that meant landing on the Archaic side of Classical Greek sculpture without forfeiting modernity. His small works come off a bit doll-like - the grandeur of the solids doesn't scale down. (Although after seeing them, I suspected in contrast that the museum's Degas bronzes, only a little larger, might not scale up.) The exception to this was the marble, loaded with presence and looking surprisingly Chinese in its stylization. None of them are preferable to his large works, but they all have the Maillol charm, and even if their informality doesn't help them, they do offer a view of the man's talent in embryonic form.

Aristide Maillol: Night, 1905, bronze, artist's proof, 7 in. (17.8 cm), Norton Simon Art Foundation

Aristide Maillol: Woman with a Dove, 1905, bronze, artist's proof, 9 x 6-1/4 in. (22.9 x 15.9 cm), Norton Simon Art Foundation

Aristide Maillol: Seated Nude, 1932, Marble, 12-1/2 x 11 x 5-1/8 in. (31.8 x 27.9 x 13.0 cm), Jennifer Jones Simon Art Trust

Aristide Maillol: Leda, 1900, bronze, artist's proof, 11-1/2 in. (29.2 cm), Norton Simon Art Foundation




July 28, 2008, 6:19 PM

The marble one would scale up very well indeed. It would make an excellent outdoor piece.



July 28, 2008, 6:22 PM

Note to MC:

Naked women are always safe. Much safer than elephants.



July 29, 2008, 8:15 AM

Re #1: Right on, Jack. I could see this one at about 10' tall. You should be able to commission some factory to knock out a blown-up version of one. Maybe hook up with the folks who make Koons' balloon animals for him...

Re#2: If you don't know the context, that reads as a very strange comment indeed, Jack.

Thanks for the post, Franklin. Maillol is a great one...


Chris Rywalt

July 29, 2008, 8:26 AM

Those look really fantastic. If I were a sculptor...but then again, no.



July 29, 2008, 8:39 AM

That's right, MC. Jack must have some interesting tastes...

I think Maillol is good. I like the surfaces, and the soft modelling.



July 29, 2008, 9:22 AM

For some reason, I often find marble nudes very soothing. That's certainly true of this one by Maillol. I hope there's a big version of it in some nice Parisian park.



July 29, 2008, 10:56 AM

all very feminine with hints of pensiveness and vulnerability or tenderness.

yes soothing.

if i remember correctly, i think greenberg preferred maillol to rodin. not enough viewing for me to decide on that, but i think rodin's "the man with the broken nose" is great.


Chris Rywalt

July 31, 2008, 5:12 PM

Does anyone know how to pronounce "Maillol"? Silly French.



July 31, 2008, 5:15 PM

Even if I don't know how to pronounce it right, I still give it my all...


Chris Rywalt

July 31, 2008, 7:33 PM

Ha ha ha! Ha. Aha. Heh.



August 1, 2008, 7:06 AM

Silly American.



August 1, 2008, 8:30 AM

My ol' buddy MC is pretty clever, Chris



August 1, 2008, 12:22 PM

No sense in us Canadians giving pronunciation advice... everyone knows aboot our funny accents.



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