Historiated Initials
1937-1943 Woodcut


Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)

Woodcut in Sanguine Ink on Vellum Paper.
5"x8.5" unframed paper size

Excellent vintage condition. Stamped with the Bassett collection estate stamp on the back of the paper. Probably for the illustration of Virgile's Les Géorgiques, that was republished by Philippe Gonin in 1950. Aristide Maillol worked on the woodcuts between 1937 and 1943, producing 100 woodcuts and historiated initials. 

From the estate of Edyth and Phillip Bassett.

Aristide Maillol was a French artist known for his influence on modern sculpture, breaking traditional methods in the field and highlighting the use of simplified shapes and forms. 

Maillol left boarding school in 1879 to return home where he resolved to become a professional artist. Two years later he enrolled in art classes at the nearby Musée Hyacinthe Rigaud, eventually finishing his studies at École des Beaux-Arts in 1885. Maillol was deeply inspired by the work of the modernist painter Paul Gauguin, stating, “Gauguin's painting was a revelation to me. Instead of enlightening me, the École des Beaux-Arts had thrown a veil over my eyes.” Maillol soon set up his own house and studio in the Villeneuve Saint-Georges section of Paris which would become the well known gathering place for the Nabi artist group and others including Henri Matisse (who became a lifelong friend) and Pablo Picasso.

Aristide Maillol helped alter fixed ideas about modern sculpture. Looking back in history to the idealized forms of classical sculpture, he created modern works that were not committed to capturing impressions of motion. Rather than striving to render the "living" figure, Maillol created what author Bertrand Lorquin called "pure sculpture based on the body's architecture and on a harmony between volumes". His drive towards more idealized, simplified, forms provided the foundation for the next generation of sculptors. His influence can be traced in the sculptures of Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, and Henry Moore. 

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