Maxime Maufra

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Biography of Maxime Maufra ( 1861-1918 )

Maxime Maufra was a French painter, engraver and lithographer. He was part of the postimpressonnist movement. He was born in Nantes in May 1861 and started painting with Charles and Alfred Leduc, reproducing landscapes along the Loire river. 

Destined for a business career by his father, he stayed in Liverpool until 1883. Here, he especially discovered Turner and the power of painting. He also visited the Wales and Scotland and was fascinated by the landscapes of these regions.

When he came back to France in 1884, he simultaneously worked as a businessman and as a artist. Primarily making classic landscapes, Charles Le Roux introduced Maufra to impressionnism. Afterwards, the painter John Flornoy invited Maufra to the Fine Arts Exhibition of Nantes in 1886 where were displayed Gauguin, Seurat, Monet, Pissarro, Gérôme, Puvis de Chavanne but also Signac works. In the same time, Maufra was noticed at the Salon by Octave Mirbeau, who highlighted his « delicate, harmonious art ». 

In 1890 and after his meeting with Paul Gauguin, Maufra decided to dedicate himself to painting. He established himself in Pont-Aven and finally in the Pouldu. Searching for his own way, landscapes and marines became his favorite subjects. In 1894, he contributed to the decoration of the « auberge du Pouldu » with Gauguin and Sérusier. Leaving Brittany for Paris, he stayed connected with the Nabis group, especially with Henry Moret and Gustave Loiseau. 

Maufra was the first painter living at the Bateau-Lavoir in 1893, where he hosted his friends Émile Dezaunay, Aristide Briand and the poet Victor-Émile Michelet. The following year, he exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants where his marines from nature met success. Paul Durand-Ruel contacted him in 1895 and became his art dealer until his death. 

In 1903, he founded with Frantz Jourdain the Salon d’automne in the Petit Palais. The same year, he settled in Britanny, in a village named Kerhotin, where he searched to reconstitute a group of artists. Léon Duval-Gozlan was the only artist to join him. Brittany was for Maufra a source of attraction and one of his favorite topic in painting. He was notably a member of the section « Fine Arts » of the Union régionaliste bretonne.  

He died the 23th of May 1918 in Poncé-sur-Loire while painting in nature. Around 1950, a Parisian gallery made an important retrospective of Maufra’s works, prefaced by René Domergue. 

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