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Last updated: 1/25/2017
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Gallery News / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944): Belle Chair

Maillol / Maillol 2: Belle Chair / Maillol 3: Sanguine lithographs / Maillol 4: lithographs
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Prints and Drawings: Prints by Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin,
Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Henri Edmond Cross, Edgar Degas, Sonia Delaunay, Maurice Denis, André Derain,
Susanne Duchamp, Raoul Dufy, Jean-Louis Forain, Paul Gauguin, Marie Laurencin, Aristide Maillol, Edouard Manet,
Henri Matisse, Berthé Morisot, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Georges Rouault, Ker Xavier Roussel, Paul Signac,
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Suzanne Valadon, Maurice de Vlaminck, James A. McNeill Whistler, and others.

Drawings by Albert Besnard, Andre Barbier, Henri Edmond Cross, Jean-Louis Forain, Eva Gonzales, Marie Laurencin,
Maximilien Luce, and Georges Rouault.

Hand-colored prints by Mary Cassatt, Marc Chagall, Sonja Delaunay, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.

For a review of the show that concludes, "Art exhibits in Madison rarely get this good," click review.
Aristide Maillol (French, 1861-1944) began as a tapestry designer attracted to the Nabis, but after c. 1900 he concentrated on sculpture and book illustration (particularly of classical texts like Vergil's Georgics, Ovid's Ars Amoris (Art of Love), Lucian of Samosata's Dialogues des Courtisanes [2nd-century AD], and Longus' Daphnis and Chloe. Although Maillol was briefly involved with the Nabis group (Bonnard, Denis, Vuillard and others), he was soon drawn to sculpture and by 1900, he had attracted the attention of Ambroise Vollard, premier dealer for the Impressionists, Post Impressionists, and soon the moderns, including Picasso, Chagall, and Rouault. In 1902, Vollard gave Maillol his first exhibition, featuring his tapestries and his terra cotta sculptures. Vollard had bronze casts made of these and Rodin was an admirer of his Leda, paving the way for his much larger marbles and bronzes. As Antoinette Le Normand-Romain suggests in her essay on Maillol in The Grove Dictionary of Art, when Maillol began devoting most of his artistic energy to sculpture, he quickly came to realize that verisimilitude was not his goal: "In 1900 Maillol began work on his first major sculpture, a Seated Woman for which his wife posed, which was later named La Méditerranée. The first version (New York, MOMA), finished in 1902, was very close to his model. He noted, however, that it was not sufficient ‘to have a model and to copy it. No doubt nature is the foundation of an artist’s labours. But art does not lie in the copying of nature’ " (Puig, 1965). Thus he resumed work and the definitive version was exhibited at the Salon d’Automne of 1905. He wanted the only meaning of this sculpture to reside in its formal beauty. With his acute sensitivity to form, he tightened the composition, which had been developed from a single viewpoint, into an almost perfect cube, simplifying the contours in the process. The sobriety and perfection of the form and gravity of La Méditerranée struck Octave Mirbeau and Maurice Denis as well as André Gide, who wrote (1905) of its ‘silence.’ All three saw Maillol as a classic artist in the mould of Cézanne" (20: 119-21, here at 121). Maillol achieved his desire and became one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. His drawings and lithographs are highly sought after as well. Maillol's works can be found in many major museums (e.g., the Museum of Modern Art features two of his sculptures in their sculpture garden and owns a total of 30 works by him including drawings, lithographs, and his woodcuts for livres d'artiste.

Selected bibliography: Beatrice Bormann, Maillol and Dina (London: Marlborough Fine Art, 2001); Marisa Lluisa Borras, Maillol, 1861-1944 (Barcelona: Centre Cultural de la Caixa de Pensions, Barcelona, 1979); Pierro Camo, Maillol Mon Ami (Lausanne: Editions du Grand-Chéne, 1950); Waldemar George, Aristide Maillol. With a Biography by Dina Vierny (London: Cory, Adams & Mackay, 1965); Marcel Guerin, Catalogue Raisonné de L’Oeuvre Grave et Lithographie de Aristide Maillol Tome Premier: Les Bois (Geneva: Editions Pierre Cailler, 1965), Bertrand Lorquin, Le Musée Maillol s'expose (Paris: Gallimard, 2008); Bertrand Lorquin, Maillol Peintre (Paris: Fondation Dina Vierny-Musée Maillol, 2001); Aristide Maillol, Maillol Nudes: 35 Lithographs [for Dialogues of the Courtesans] (NY: Dover Books, 1980); Aristide Maillol, Maillol Woodcuts: 303 Great Book Illustrations (NY: Dover Books, 1979); Hans Albert Peters, Maillol (Baden-Baden: Staatlichhe Kunsthalle, 1978); John Rewald, Maillol (London: Hyperion, 1939); John Rewald et al, Aristide Maillol: 1861-1944 (NY: Guggenheim Museim, 1975); Wendy Slatkin, Aristide Maillol in the 1890s (Ann Arbor: UMI REsearch Press, 1982).
In 1931, Maillol collaborated with his friend Emile Verhaeren on a deluxe livre de peintre combining 11 unpublished poems by Verhaeren with 12 lithographs and 3 woodcuts by Maillol. Two of the lithographs were full page and without text; the rmainder were published with varying amounts of text. The edition consisted in 15 impressions on Japon Pelletin, 20 impressions on Japon, 50 on Montval, and 150 on verge de Hollande (all of our impressions from the regular edition come from exemplaire 221/225 on verge de Hollande; we also have two hors texte trial proofs which we will present in their appropriate place in the sequence. Plates 1 and 12 occupy the entire sheet of paper; all of the other pages (except for the trial proofs) have text on one or both sides. In one case, two lithographs (plates 8 and 9) are printed on the same leaf, one on the recto, the other on the verso. The paper size is 300x238mm (11-3/4x8-3/8 inches).The image sizes varied considerably. The title page is illustrated with an original woodcut: Belle Chair frontispiece (Guérin Woodcuts 60). Edition 225 plus 30 HC impressions; ours is from 221/225 on verge de Hollande. Image size: 100x100mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: not for sale.

The keen observer will note that the 12 plates from our set on vere de Hollande seem to vary in tone. This is merely an illusion. The actual color is very close to that of the paper depicted in Belle Chair 5 below.
Belle Chair 1 / Beautiful flesh 1 (Guérin 294). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 180x190mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1250.
Belle Chair 2 / Beautiful flesh 2 (Guérin 294). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 115x150mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair II / Beautiful Flesh II (Guerin 294). Original lithograph, 1931. Belle Chair was a set of 12 original lithographs and 3 woodcuts byAristide Maillol. The lithographs were printed at Atelier Desjobert and the woodcuts were printed at Lahure and published in an edition of 225 deluxe artist's books printed on various papers. Each portfolio was signed and monogramed by the publishers, but the individual sheets are unsigned. This impression, which appears to be a trial proof before the regilar edition, is printed on thin white paper without text. It has a number of small spots, mostly clustered around the margins. Image size: 115x150mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 3: Nageuses / Beautiful flesh 3: Swimmers (Guérin 295). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). This lithograph accompanies a poem entitled Les baiugneuses de Ronsard (Ronsard's bathers). Image size: 52x145mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $750.
Belle Chair 4 / Beautiful flesh 4 (Guérin 296). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 120x168mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 5 / Beautiful flesh 5 (Guérin 297). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 80x155mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 6 / Beautiful flesh 6 (Guérin 298). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 137x150mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 7 / Beautiful flesh 7 (Guérin 299). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 158x175mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair VII / Beautiful Flesh VII (Guerin 299). Original lithograph, 1931. Belle Chair was a set of 12 original lithographs and 3 woodcuts byAristide Maillol. The lithographs were printed at Atelier Desjobert and the woodcuts were printed at Lahure and published in an edition of 225 deluxe artist's books printed on various papers. Each portfolio was signed and monogramed by the publishers, but the individual sheets are unsigned. This impression, which appears to be a trial proof before the edition, is printed on thin paper without text. Image size: 150x175mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1250.
Belle Chair 8 / Beautiful flesh 8 (Guérin 301). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 160x137mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 9 / Beautiful flesh 9 (Guérin 302). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 93x175mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.

This work is printed on the reverse side of the sheet where plate 8 is printed. The buyer of either plate 8 por plate 9 consequently will get both lithographs for the price of one..
Belle Chair 10 / Beautiful flesh 10 (Guérin 303). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 160x165mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 11 / Beautiful flesh 11 (Guérin 304). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 188x165mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1000.
Belle Chair 12 / Beautiful flesh 12 (Guérin 305). Original lithograph on verge de Hollande paper, 1931. Edition: 225 unsigned impressions for the portfolio of the same name, of which 150 were on verge de Hollande (there were also 30 HC impressions). Image size: 188x165mm. Sheet size: 300x240mm. Price: $1250.

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