Banyuls-sur-Mer, Pyrénées-Orientales 1861 - Banyuls-sur-Mer, Pyrénées-Orientales 1944
Maker: Rudier, Georges
designed 1938, cast 1962
lead, cast no. 1 out of 2 artist's proof casts
Dimensions (HxWxD): 50 x 94 x 36 3⁄4; base: 7 7⁄8 x 69 1⁄2 x 17 3⁄4; weight: 1515 lb.
cast inscription on right front of base: A. MAILLOL
cast foundry mark on proper right end of base: Georges Rudier / Fondeur. Paris [left and] Epreuve d'Artiste [right]
Acc. No.: 2005.113.1
Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Fran and Ray Stark
Photo credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
- 1983, Paris, Galerie Dina Vierny
- 1983, January 25, sold to Fran and Ray Stark
- 1983-1992, Fran and Ray Stark
- 1992, upon the death of Fran Stark, retained by her husband, Ray Stark
- 1992-2004, Ray Stark
- 1992, upon the death of Ray Stark, distributed to the Ray Stark Revocable Trust
- 2004-2005, The Ray Stark Revocable Trust, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum
- Museum's website, accessed August 7, 2018
- 2007 [Getty Handbook]
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 271, ill.
- 2008 Bedford
Boström, Antonia, ed. The Fran and Ray Stark Collection of 20th-Century Sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), pp. 106-9, no. 15, entry by Christopher Bedford
- 2015 [Getty Handbook]
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 321, ill.
- Museum's website, accessed August 7, 2018:
This monumental nude seems to float in space. Although cast in lead, the smooth, grayish-blue surface actually enhances the form's light, buoyant appearance. Perched delicately on her right hip, the figure's extended legs and left arm create a strong horizontal, echoed in the plinth beneath her. Resting on an imaginary center of gravity, she teeters between immobility and movement, suspension and flight. The nude's face and figure are idealized--rather than a portrait of an individual, it is a personification of air.
In 1938, the city of Toulouse in southern France commissioned Aristide Maillol to commemorate the pilots of the pioneering airmail service, l'Aéropostale, who had been killed in the line of duty. Air was cast from the plaster model for this monument. Its form was initially inspired by a small terra cotta sculpture Maillol had made several decades earlier depicting a reclining figure resting on wind-blown drapery. The artist often used the female form to symbolize aspects of nature like the sea, the seasons, and even a subject as elusive as air.