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Edgar Maxence 

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Biography of Edgar Maxence 

Edgar Maxence was born in Nantes in 1871 into a family of owners. He growed up into a universe where nothing was predestined him to become an artist. Maybe the proximity of his mother, Estelle Boquien, with the cultural environment of Nantes helpt him to go to an artistic career. During his schooling at the day school for children of Nantes, he followed the drawing lessons of abbot Sotta (the first master of Elie Delaunay) who certainly was at the begining of his artistic vocation.

In 1891, Maxence was successfull candidate at the school of Fine Art in Paris. He first went to Elie Delaunay’s studio, and after to Gustave Moreau’s. The meeting between Maxence and Moreau was absolutly decisive for the young artist who stayed in his master’s studio until 1896, and remained faithful to his teaching all along his life.

Maxence’s process at the Fine Art School was brilliant : in 1893 he obtained the prize of ‘Premier Logiste’ and won the first prize for expression faces in 1894. Despite these prizes, he was eliminated from the first round of the 1895’s Prix de Rome. This failure certainly determined his future artistic way.

When he was a young painter, Maxence was distinguished himslef by his taste for portrait. Since 1893, he regularly exibited at the Salon of French Artists and took part of the Salon of Rose-Croix between 1895 and 1897. His paintings were very attached with the Symbolist movement to whom he took his subjects. He choose to be inspired by the Breton legends, ambiguous and dark subjetcs, dreamy processions, oneiric faces… He was simultaneously fed by his Christian knowledge and his Celtic basis.

His palette was varied : he used some garnet-colored, some emerald green, some muffled yellow. More, he used very varied mediums, either oil, either wax, from time to time both together. The tempera, piece of gold, gouache and charcoal gave a singular appearance to his art works and accentuated the primitive appearance of his mystics scenes, despite of the realistic treatment of the faces.

In 1900, he was awarded with a gold medal at the Word Fair and gained the Legion of Honour. After the WWI, he decided to turn towards more lucrative subjects. Then he continued a brilliant career of social portrait painter, realising some still life and landscape paintings too.

Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, he was promoted Officer in 1927 ; he was elected at the Institut in 1924 in lieu of the painter Fernand Cormon.

32 avenue Marceau
75008 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 61 42 10
+33 (0)6 07 88 75 84

contact@galeriearyjan.com

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