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Sold at Auction: Maurice Galbraith Cullen

Alias:Maurice Cullen
PainterLandscape painterWall painter


(b Saint John’s, Newfoundland, 1866; d Chambly, Quebec, Canada, 1934) Canadian painter. Cullen left Montreal in 1888 for Paris, where he studied and became part of the artistic community there; both international and Canadian. He was exposed to Impressionism through his training in France at the École des beaux-arts and the Académie Julian, where he absorbed the freshness of the Impressionist palette and techniques. Cullen also traveled around Europe and spent his summers on France's Brittany Coast. In 1895, he was resident in Paris, and was elected an associate of the Societé nationale des beaux-arts (the first Canadian to be so honoured). In this same year he exhibited in their Salon and the French government bought one of his paintings from this exhibition. The influence of French Impressionism can clearly be seen in his work. Cullen adapts the Impressionists' adeptness with atmospheric effects of light and water to his landscapes. Upon his return to Canada at the end of 1895, he established himself as one of Canada's most important Impressionist painters. In 1905 Cullen divided his subjects between Montreal and Quebec City street scenes and landscapes along the upper St. Lawrence. He traveled through the Quebec countryside to such sites as Les Éboulements and Beaupré. In that year, he built a studio at St-Eustache, Quebec with fellow artist William Brymner. Cullen received much recognition that year: he was elected president of the Pen and Pencil Club of Montreal; exhibited in three Art Association of Montreal shows, the Paris Salon and the Royal Canadian Academy show in Toronto. In 1912, the Arts Club of Montreal was founded in Cullen's studio at Beaver Hall Square and he was elected vice-president. He kept a busy exhibition schedule that year and taught outdoor classes at the Art Association of Montreal's school at Beaupré in the summer. Cullen's influence on other artists was considerable. Group of Seven members Arthur Lismer and A.Y. Jackson praised his fresh approach to landscape; with Jackson declaring that he had influenced the Group more than renowned Impressionist James Wilson Morrice. (Credit: Heffel, Vancouver, Live Auction, November 23, 2007, lot 96 and lot 101; Heffel, Vancouver, Fall 2008 Live Auction, November 19, 2008, lot 162; Heffel, Vancouver, Fine Canadian Art, May 22, 2008, lot 47 and 57)
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