Aristide Joseph Bonaventure Maillol was born on 8th December 1861, in Banyuls-sur-Mer in Roussillon. He moved to Paris in 1881 to study art; he had decided to become a painter at a young age. He wasn't accepted at the École des Beaux-Arts until 1885; he had applied several times before being accepted. He studied under Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexandre Cabanel.
In 1893, Maillol opened a tapestry workshop in Banyuls. He gained recognition for the high technical and aesthetic quality. He began making small terracotta sculptures in 1895, and within a few years he abandoned his tapestry work in order to concentrate on sculpture.
In July 1896, he married Clotilde Narcis, who was one of the employees at his tapestry workshop. They only had one child; Luian was born that same year in October. Maillol's first major sculpture was modeled after his wife. The first version was completed in 1902 and was renamed 'La Méditerranée'. He produced a second version in 1905, which was less naturalistic.
Maillol first exhibited his work in 1902. His most significant public commissions are the 1912 commission for a monument to Cézanne, as well as numerous war memorials comissioned after the First World War.
Aristide Maillol died on 27th September 1944, aged 82. He died in a car accident in Banyuls while driving home during a thunderstorm, he was a passenger in the car and it skidded off the road and flipped over. A large amont of his work is kept in the Musée Maillol in Paris.