If you missed the recent exhibition “Primal Urges” at The Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings—featuring loans of work by European master artists who primarily focused on the human figure—then you won’t want to miss this presentation of two additional and splendid works by the notable sculptor Aristide Maillol and a still-life painting by Fernand Léger.

Upon visiting the museum, visitors will be greeted by two Maillol sculptures that honor French culture. The installation of Maillol’s spectacular “L’Air” is an especially unexpected treat. This massive cast lead sculpture was developed as an artist’s proof for bronze castings that would follow. The scale is as grand as the waxed lead patina (finished surface) is rich and evocative.

Another smaller sculpture, “Le Monument À Claude Debussy,” is a sublime tribute to the life’s work of the composer.

“L’Air” serves a tribute to the crew of the hydroplane Croix du Sud, which went missing during the 24th trans-Atlantic crossing of a newly established mail service between France and South America. It disappeared after takeoff on Dec. 7, 1936.

“These exceptional works by Maillol exemplify why he was one of the most highly sought-after artists of his age,” said Senior Curator Bob Durden. “He not only had the ability to capture the human form in a poetic and graceful manner, but his allegorical references to nature, symbolized by the female form, are distinctive and dignified, reflecting his respect for his wife—who often modeled for him—and women in general.

“The Léger painting on exhibit is a wonderful example of the transitional state of Cubism during the era and this artist’s influence on what would become ‘Pop Art.’ The comparison will be obvious to anyone who visits the museum when they view this work side-by-side with a recent loan of Roy Lichtenstein’s work—one of the great artists of the Pop Art movement.”

The three noted works went on display Sept. 20 after the museum’s curatorial staff took an entire day to install them. “We give all art in our care equal respect and handling. However, the objects by deceased artists always carry an additional responsibility—these works are truly irreplaceable,” Durden said.

The works will remain on view through Jan. 22, courtesy of an anonymous lender.

In addition to these special offerings, the museum has other lively and informative exhibitions on display. The museum, located in downtown Billings, is family friendly. Treat yourself, family members or friends to a trip to the Yellowstone Art Museum and witness local and global cultural artifacts. Visit for more information.