L’Air (1939) is a bronze sculpture by the French Catalan sculptor and painter Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). The sculpture is located at the Kröller-Müller Museum (KMM), an art museum and sculpture garden in the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo, The Netherlands.
Maillol (aka Aristides Maillol) studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel. Under the influence and encouragement of his contemporary Paul Gauguin, Maillol took special interest in decorative art. In 1893 he took up tapestry design as a profession for which he started a tapestry workshop in Banyuls.
In 1985, while still running his tapestry design workshop, Aristides Maillol, experimented with terracotta sculptures. This newfound interest in sculpture made him abandon his flourishing work in tapestry. It seems to be a conscious decision taken by him, as, in the course of time, Maillol became a very popular sculptor, and made him very busy, especially as he was commissioned to create many war memorials.
Maillol is the most acclaimed for the figurative style of his large bronzes. The subject of most of his work is the female body that he treated with an emphasis on stable forms based on his typical style of serene classicism. Needless to say, his sculpture style set a new standard for figure sculpture, and that influence stayed with sculptors of Europe and America until the end of World War II.
The Musée Maillol in Paris, established by Dina Vierny, Maillol’s model and platonic companion during the last decade of his life, houses a very large collection of Maillol’s work.