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Variations on a Theme: Waterfront Scenes, ca. 1907-15

Maurice’s early works comprise clearly identifiable sites. This was often standard practice for an artist hoping to appeal to the market, but it also reveals Maurice’s fundamental respect for place and his desire to communicate the experience of being in an actual location rather than just recording a charming scene.

By the early 20th century, however, he generally abandoned naming particular locales in his titles in favor of generic descriptions such as A Silver Morning, Boats and Figures by the Sea, Spring Promenade, or Park Benches. These motifs are rarely landscapes in and of themselves. Rather than mere illustrations of the New England coast, these paintings were intended to be seen as explorations of composition, light, and color, much like the work of French Impressionist Claude Monet, who became known for his variations on serial themes of trees, haystacks, cathedrals, and water lilies.

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