Tuesday, September 30, 2014

La Montagne

The next sculpture outside the Portland Art Museum (and I think the last one, until they add more) is La Montagne, the other Aristide Maillol nude of the pair flanking the Portland Art Museum entrance. I discussed Maillol and Dina Vierny, the model for the two sculptures, in an earlier post about La Rivière, and mentioned their surprising connection with Vera Katz, former Mayor of Portland. So go read that post first if you haven't yet.

There's one other local connection to Maillol I came across that didn't fit in the previous post. Pioneering local sculptor Frederic Littman was influenced by Maillol early in his career. (The linked article discusses Littmans's Abraham Lincoln for the newly relocated Lincoln High School). In fact, before he arrived at Reed College in 1941, Littman taught at a French art academy headed by Maillol. Littman went on to teach at the museum-linked Pacific Northwest College of Art, and taught many of the Northwest's prominent artists of the mid-20th Century.

It's hard to point at any stylistic resemblances; Littman mostly did human figures, but in an odd lumpy sort of style I've never been fond of, while the generation he taught tended toward pure abstract stuff instead. Still, if anyone's putting together a "professional genealogy" tracking who influenced whom, Maillol would be another data point on the big family tree.

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