Aristide Maillol's La Riviere sets record at $8.2m in Dina Vierny sale

Aristide Maillol's La Riviere has sold at the top of Artcurial's auction of the art collection of Dina Vierny, his greatest muse.

Dina Vierny Maillol
Maillol found his perfect muse in Dina Vierny, and she spent the last decade of his life inspiring him

The sale was held on December 2 in Paris, offering Vierny's stunning collection of contemporary and modern art, which was acquired through her relationships with many of the top artists of the day as well as her career as an art dealer.

La Riviere is Maillol's most famous work, and an example is placed outside the New York Museum of Modern Art. With Vierny having served as the muse for the piece, the example at auction sold for $8.2m - a record for the artist.

Maillol La Riviere
La Riviere is one of Maillol's most famous works, with this example placed outside of New York's Museum of Modern Art

Dina Vierny (1919-2009) became Maillol's muse in the mid-1930s, when she was just 15 and the sculptor was almost 60 years older, aged 73. She became the key figure of his work, and now over 35 sculptures of Vierny exist, along with dozens of drawings and paintings.

As a close friend of Henri Mattise, Raoul Dufy, Pierre Bonnard and others, Vierny was encouraged to open a gallery in Paris in 1947. Once established, she chose to champion the work of the Russian avant-garde, and helped artists such as Erik Bulatov and Ilya Kabakov leave the USSR.

Bulatov's Liberte II (1991) saw the second highest bids of the sale, realising $1.4m. Kabakov's Regarde-La! (1982) sold for $327,730.

Francis Bacon prints
The triptych is comprised of the three largest lithographs of Bacon's work ever made

Also selling through Artcurial on December 2 was the Alexandre Tacou collection of Francis Bacon prints, which saw strong bids following the record sale of his Three Studies of Lucian Freud. Top lot of the sale was Triptych 1974-1977, which sold for $34,743.

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