Aristide Maillol

1861 – Banyuls-sur-Mer – 1944

  • Baigneuse

    Standing Bather

  • Bronze, ca. 1910

    Signed with the artist’s monogram A.M.

  • Size

    67 x 26 cm

  • Provenance

    Private collection, France

  • Literature

    (various casts) John Rewald, Maillol, 1939, p. 72 (ill.) ; Waldemar George, Aristide Maillol, 1965, p. 130 (ill.)

  • Exhibition

    (various casts) Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1945, cat.4, p. 75 (ill.) ; Museum of Fine Arts, Lausanne, Aristide Maillol, 1996, cat. 34 (ill.) ; Icones de l’Art Moderne. La Collection Chtchoukine, Fondation Louis Vuitton, 2017

A rare and extremely fine early twentieth century lifetime bronze model, this sculpture was edited by Ambroise Vollard and cast in bronze using the sand casting technique at the Florentin Godard foundry in Paris.

Maillol’s first figurative sculptures were carved from wood. This Standing Bather dates from around 1898 and the original wood carving is now in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, prior to which it was in the collection of Prince Antoine Bibesco. It was the dealer Ambroise Vollard who first suggested to Maillol that bronze casts could be made from his wood carvings. From the wood carving of the Standing Bather, Maillol prepared two versions in plaster. One almost identical to the original and a second variant, without the drapery over the right arm and with the right hand outstretched – it is this version represented by the present model. Vollard was delighted with the results of both these works, and subsequently began producing bronze examples.

In Vollard’s first agreement with Maillol in 1902, he bought a number of works including Statue femme debout le bras derrìère le dos and Autre statue femme debout le bras derrìère le dos aussi (present model). Contracts stated that Vollard had complete rights of reproduction of the sculptures listed ‘en toute propriété et avec le droit d’édition’. In signing this contract with Vollard, Maillol relinquished his rights to reproduce these works himself. Maillol went on to sign an additional contract with Vollard for further models in 1905. The artist respected these contracts throughout his lifetime and did not produce bronze examples of any of the models concerned.

From 1909 Vollard had all his bronzes cast exclusively by Florentin Godard, who had set up a small high quality sand casting foundry around 1907. The Florentin Godard foundry rarely marked their casts with their name and never numbered them. In total, Vollard purchased around 25 models from Maillol, the production of which, by the Florentin Godard foundry, ceased upon the art dealer’s death in 1939. The present bronze is one of the earliest examples of this model, cast around 1910. It has a warm brown patina and displays all the hallmarks of a casting from the Florentin Godard foundry.

This work is sold with a certificate by Dr. Ursel Berger.

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