I first encountered Maillol in a very cold winters stroll near the Louvre in Paris at the Place du Carrousel, the grass was covered in a silvery frost and the landscape seemed monochrome, his sculptures rose from the ground like shadows of real women, still and silent and very powerful that morning. Do go there and have a look early before Paris awakes, the very silence underscores the serene calm power of the sculptures.
Widely considered one of the greatest French (or Catalan) sculptors of the 20th century, I love his work for the passion he shows for female form and his many tributes to the idea of Nature. He is quoted as saying “give me a garden and I will fill it with statues”. I’m so glad that his companion of many years Dina Vierny was able to create the sculpture garden at Place du Carrousel.
If you are in Rotterdam from now until February 2013 you can see a major retrospective of his work at the Kunsthal. Or you can read a wonderful book about him by Bertrand Lorquin, lavishly illustrated in colour.