More than two hundred works shed light on all the facets of Maillol’s art: in addition to the essential sculptures, there are paintings, tapestries and ceramics, as well as drawings and objets d’art, which provide a better understanding of the artist’s early career and his development.
The exhibition also endeavours to relate Maillol’s work to that of his contemporaries such as Renoir, Bonnard and Vuillard and highlights the role of his female models in his life and work.
This is not the first time that Maillol has been exhibited in Zurich: during his lifetime, in 1929, the Kunsthaus already devoted an exhibition to him and his son, Lucien. Maillol was thus widely collected in Switzerland, both in public and private collections.
The museum’s collection, which has included La Jeunesse (Youth) since 1925, was further expanded in 1968 with the donation by Werner and Nelly Bär, which included the bronze of the Monument à Cézanne and Pomone.
This event is an opportunity for the Fondation Dina Vierny – Musée Maillol to lend a significant number of works from its collection.
The beginnings of Maillol’s career which was characterised by the artist’s desire to be a painter is addressed in the Portrait de Madame Maillol,dated 1894, where the artist pursues a decorative, arabesque style aesthetic La Femme à la mandoline (The Woman with the Mandolin) , from 1895, allows us to understand the transition Maillol made between painting and sculpture. Using the ductility of wood, he explores the theme of the female figure in two dimensions, before going even further into depth, with the Femme au bain ou Relief de la Vague (Woman in the Bath or Wave Relief) of 1903, also presented in the exhibition.
Femme se tenant le pied ou Femme à l’épine (Woman holding her foot or Woman with a thorn) , circa 1921-1923,evokes the sculptor’s mature period, when he created a series of small statuettes and explored the simplification of volumes and the harmony of forms. During this period, the artist did not forget his classics: the subject of this young woman is reminiscent of the ancient sculpture Tireur d’Epine, which has been widely reproduced. Maillol’s sketchwork is also examined, in particular in Le Dos de Thérèse (The Back of Thérèse) (1929) one of the artist’s most accomplished drawings, in which he frames his Catalan model by a precise charcoal drawing, enhanced by the skilful use of hatching and blending.