Maillol's Miniatures at the Norton Simon
Post #1215 • July 28, 2008, 6:03 PM • 13 Comments
Pasadena - The Norton Simon has impressive Maillol holdings, including some scattered around its pond to beautiful effect. (Some spectacular dragonflies, red with silver wingtips, were flitting about as well.) I've always had a lot of fondness for Maillol. I see in them what Puvis du Chavannes was trying to do somewhat less successfully in paint - to emphasize the timeless geometry of the figure. In Maillol's case, that meant landing on the Archaic side of Classical Greek sculpture without forfeiting modernity. His small works come off a bit doll-like - the grandeur of the solids doesn't scale down. (Although after seeing them, I suspected in contrast that the museum's Degas bronzes, only a little larger, might not scale up.) The exception to this was the marble, loaded with presence and looking surprisingly Chinese in its stylization. None of them are preferable to his large works, but they all have the Maillol charm, and even if their informality doesn't help them, they do offer a view of the man's talent in embryonic form.