* 17 May 1861 Nantes
† 23 May 1918 Poncé-sur-le-Loir / Sarthe
Maufra first began painting at 18. He was encouraged to do so by two artists from Nantes: the brothers Leduc. However his family had determined a commercial career would suit him best. His father sent him across the Channel and Maufra studied the basics of business commerce up the coast of Britain in Liverpool
He had hardly arrived in Liverpool before he began to paint.
He was clearly influenced by the english painters, especially Turner, whose style greatly impressed him.
1882-1883 Maufra went to Scotland to paint exclusively. As he returned to Nantes, he tried again with the commercial career, and painted on the side.
In 1886 he first exhibited at the salon. From 1890 onward Maufra finally operated as an independent artist. He went for a half a year to Pont-Aven in Brittany and maintained contacts with Gauguin and his circle. Influences from there can be detected best in the drawings of Maufra.
In 1892, Maufra was down in Montmartre and was the first painter to take up residence in The Bateau-Lavoir, whose most famous resident from 1904 was Pablo Picasso.
Here he worked intensely, interrupted only by trips to Brittany. He maintained his friendship with his colleagues Henry Moret and Gustave Loiseau.
In 1894 Maufra had his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Le Barc de Boutteville. There he was discovered by the most important Parisian art dealer Durand-Ruel, the great patron of the Impressionists. From then on he traveled constantly: to Brittany and Normandy, to England, Scotland, Belgium and the Dauphiné. In 1911 he directed a studio in Kerhostin in Brittany.
In 1912 he went to the Mediterranean, and in 1913 to Algeria. In the same year he settled in Kerhostin. At 57 years of age Maufra died in Ponce, right at work, the brush in his hand.
In his paintings Maufra stayed often quite traditional, but sometimes borrowed the more pointillisit technique of Pissarro or Sisley, and also took the strong colors and powerful drawing of the Pont Aven school. However, Maufra stayed an independent artist all his life, and dedicated his art to recording the beauty of nature.
He painted mainly in Brittany, especially near Quiberon, but also at various points on the Normandy coast and in and near Paris. In 1895-6 he found himself in the Highlands of Scotland, 1913 in Algeria, and occasionally in the South of France.
Paintings in museum collections
Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
Los Angeles County Museum
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Pont-Aven, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, France (in French)
Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum und Fondation Courboud, Köln
Maufra, Les Années de Pont-Aven et du Pouldu, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, 29 June - 30 September 1996
Arsène Alexandre, Maxime Maufra: Peintre Marin et Rustique (1861-1918), Paris, 1926
Daniel Morane, Maxime Maufra. 1861-1918.
Catalogue de l'oeuvre grave (catalogue raisonne, with supplement), Musee de Pont-Aven, 1986