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Maxime Maufra : “The Cliffs at Beg-ar-Fry, Saint-Jean-du-Doigt” (1895)

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Maxime Maufra, taught by local artists, began painting in his hometown of Nantes. It was not until 1883, after having returned from Great Britain, where he had discovered the Old Masters and the English painters Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Constable, and Turner, that Maufra gave up a business career and began to devote himself entirely to painting. Three years later he exhibited two landscapes at the 1886 Paris Salon to critical acclaim. He then traveled throughout Normandy and Brittany painting seascapes and landscapes and settled in Paris in 1892, returning every year to Brittany. It was during a visit in Pont-Aven in 1890 that he met Gauguin and Paul Sérusier (1864-1927). The work of these artists overshadowed the influence he had undergone from such painters as Pissarro and Sisley. By 1890 he was greatly affected by synthetism, the style invented by Émile Bernard (1868-1941) and developed by Gauguin, that translates forms into flat colored planes arranged in a decorative pattern. This style is most apparent in Maufra’s prints and drawings. In 1894 Le Barc de Bouteville held an exhibition of Maufra’s work, and the dealer Durand-Ruel supported his artistic career until the end.

(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).

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