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Encounters with Modernism: Maurice in Paris and St. Malo, 1907

In the spring of 1907, Maurice sailed to France, where he remained for a total of five months—three in Paris and two in St. Malo on the Brittany Coast. This excursion was to become one of the most profoundly impactful experiences in Maurice’s entire career.

Arriving in Paris in late May of 1907, Maurice visited countless exhibitions, seeking out the most recent developments in Modern art. Maurice reveled in the radical color and brushwork of Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and other Post-Impressionist and Fauve artists, whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. Moreover, Claude Monet’s series of haystacks and cathedrals likely inspired a similar approach to variations on a theme in Maurice’s work.

Upon settling in St. Malo in the summer of 1907, Maurice immediately began to apply the lessons of the French avant-garde to his studies of the French seaside. This series of work shares a direct affinity to the highly chromatic works of Post-Impressionist and Fauve artists. Maurice’s compositions from this period are composed of broad, loose paint strokes and patches of intense, contrasting color, sometimes applied with great abandon. There is a new uninhibited freedom and joy in his painting and a direct, expressive response to life, to the sparkle of light on the waves, the flutter of flags in the wind, and the brightness of the sun against the azure sky.

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