by Elaine Jacobs

I am reeling from an absolutely overwhelming world-class exhibition at le Musée Rigaud in Perpignan. As France info puts it: “C’est l’un des grands événements culturels de l’été: Rodin-Maillol face à face“.

Hyacinthe Rigaud Museum, Perpignan

Meticulously curated, each room invites you to compare and contrast themes shared by these two “monstres sacrés” of 19th and 20th century sculpture: their approach to sculpting female and male figures; what each admired about the other’s work…

(The curation has also been rigorous. In other parts of the Musée you will find several equally lovely sculptures by Maillol – but within the framing of the exhibition, less is more.)

Maillol Statue in Courtyard of Hotel de Ville Perpignan
La Mediterranée in Courtyard of Hotel de Ville Perpignan

Curator Alex Susannà has chosen top-drawer works by both sculptors. You can see Rodin’s monumental Le Penseur side by side with a plaster cast of Perpignan’s own La Mediterranée; Rodin’s Le Baiser complemented by Maillol’s Le Désir; Rodin’s tormented Eve and Maillol’s apple-holding innocent…

One of my favourites (which adorns the front cover of the catalogue) is Maillol’s Leda. He movingly captures her alarmed flight reaction as (the unseen) Zeus, disguised as a swan, suddenly appears with lascivious intent.


Aristide MaillotLeda 1903

Every room is an eye-opener – including work-in-progress maquettes and superb drawings from both masters.

The exhibition continues until 3 November 2019, at

Musée d’art Hyacinthe Rigaud
21 rue Mailly, 66000 Perpignan.

Phone: 04 68 66 19 83

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