John L. Severance Fund 1992.343
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Catalogue raisonné: Guerin v.I, no.4
Maillol executed Hero and Leander just as he was becoming acquainted with Paul Gauguin, whose contemporaneous woodcuts must have influenced this work. However, unlike Gauguin, Maillol filled the entire surface with intricate detail and pattern. Leander lived on the Asian side of the Hellespont, the strait which separates Asia and Europe. His lover, Hero, lived on the opposite shore. Each night Leander swam across the strait to visit Hero, but one evening during a storm he drowned, the waves bearing his body to the European shore. When Hero learned of his death, she cast herself into the sea and perished.
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