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Study for "The Thought" c.1905

Aristide Maillol

* 1861 in Banyulus-sur-Mer † 1944 in Banyulus-sur-Mer

Pastel on paper. Size of sheet: 31.5 x 26 cm.

Signed with the artist's monogram M (lower left), stamped with the Maillol studio stamp Atelier Maillol (verso). This stamp was used mostly by Maillol's son, Lucien, to mark the drawings that were included in his father's studio after his death. The stamp is also numbered 738 and this refers to the artist's inventory. 

Provenance: Artist's studio (Lugt 1777a);

                    Private collection, France. 


£ 5000.-

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The paper bears the watermark "Maillol-Kessler". Count Harry Kessler (1868 – 1937) was an Anglo-German count, diplomat, writer, and patron of modern art. He was Maillol's patron from 1904 and the sculpture 'la Pensee' was commissioned by him. He also built a private paper mill for Maillol in Monval where this paper was produced. The mill was run by Maillol nephew, Gaspard Maillol.

This work is accompanied by a photo-expertise from Olivier Lorquin, the international expert for the works of Aristide Maillol, Paris, dated 20 September 2011 (expertise no. 2833). 

This drawing is a study for Maillol important sculpture 'la Pensee' also known as 'La Méditerranée'.The sculpture was first created in 1905 and exhibited in the Salon d'automme of the same year.The writer, André Gide wrote after seeing it for the first time : "Elle est belle, elle ne signifie rien" (She is beautiful, she means nothing). The statue's beauty lies in its simplicity. Maillol's approach was the opposite of general practice at the time, which was still influenced by Rodin. No excessive emotion, no straining muscles. The face is blank, the limbs are well rounded and the skin is smooth. Maillol modified his statue until he achieved the ideal composition. The figure is a set of interlocking triangles, folded in on itself as if in thought. Only a hand and a foot extend beyond the frame.This simplification of sculpture after 1900 is referred to as the "return to order".


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