Monday, February 1, 2016

Sculptor Aristide Maillol's Flat Paintings

Aristide Joseph Bonaventure Maillol (1861-1944) is best known as a sculptor, but began his artistic career as a painter and continued to paint off and on for much of his life (biographical information here).

What interests me about many, not all, of his paintings is that (1) they are flat, and (2) the heads of his subjects are either in profile or facing the viewer head-on. Admittedly, most of the paintings shown below were made before Maillol took up sculpture seriously, but even as late as 1940 he continued these characteristics.

One would think that a sculptor would be thinking more three-dimensionally, but it seems he was following the modernist desideratum regarding flat surfaces. On the other hand, late in his career, Maillol did make a number of drawings of his model/muse Dina Vierny that depicted her well-rounded form. Below are some of his flat paintings.


In the Western Pyrenées - 1885
Although he used linear perspective, Maillol's use of color gives this painting a flat appearance.

Woman in White - 1890-91

Les deux jeunes filles - 1891

Enfant couranne - 1892

Jeune femme pensive au feuillage - 1893
This also has been dated 1894 and the subject has been said to be the future Mme. Maillol.

Mme. Maillol - 1895

La femme à l'ombrelle - 1895
Another painting with the same title featuring a women in the same costume is dated 1891-92, so this might have been painted then as well.

Dina á la robe rouge - 1940

No comments: