(1877 - 1941)
Maurice Braun was active/lived in California, New York / Hungary. Maurice Braun is known for landscape, portrait and-still life painting.
Biography from the Archives of askART
"The Artist Maurice Braun: Aesthetic and Philosophic Values"
Biography from the Archives of askART
By Charlotte Braun White and Ernest Boyer Braun
Maurice Braun's children we find it important to record our
observations and memories that are relative to issues of current
interest among students, collectors of his paintings, and art
historians. The history of his art education in New York City and
subsequent successful exhibiting of his paintings throughout his
lifetime has frequently been presented. Meanwhile, the current
interest in his aesthetic and philosophical values deserve presentation
that is as reliable as possible. These topics have been
represented with insight and sensitivity by several art
historians. Too frequently, however, mistaken assumptions in the
literature require corrections to do justice to our father.
Together we provide confirmation from our observations, memory, and our
father's own records.
Maurice Braun (1877-1941) is known as an
important American/California Impressionist artist. (1) He was born in
the small town of Nagy-Bittse, Hungary. (2) His family came to live in
New York City when he was preschool age. Braun's formal art education
was at the National Academy of Design in New York City, followed by a
year of study with the distinguished New York artist and teacher,
William Merritt Chase. Braun traveled in Europe for a year in 1902,
visiting museums primarily in Eastern Europe. It is unclear
whether he visited France or England.
On his return to New
York, Braun painted there for several years. He became known as a
portrait painter, although he also painted landscapes in New England.
In 1909 he left New York to establish his home in San Diego. (3) He
would make his home in San Diego until his death in 1941.
June of 1911, Braun presented his first one-man exhibition with 75
paintings and drawings of San Diego city and countryside, a few
portraits, and New England landscapes. (4) The exhibition took place in
Braun's studio on B Street where he had also opened the San Diego Art
Academy. Shortly after this exhibition, he learned that one of his
paintings had been accepted for a November exhibition at the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. (5) Braun continued
to exhibit paintings in the East throughout his life. There were
galleries across the country that carried his paintings as well.
Braun was awarded top honors, a gold medal, for a painting at the San
Francisco Panama Pacific International Exposition held in 1915, he
became more widely known on both West and East coasts. It is
noteworthy that paintings showing at this exposition included some of
the outstanding group of Eastern artists, known as The Ten. (6)
landscape paintings of scenes in and around San Diego are especially
well known. Although he remained strongly associated with
Southern California, he intermittently painted, sketched, and exhibited
in many sections of the country. He returned annually to paint in
New England and upper New York State during the 1920s, as he especially
enjoyed painting the color and textures of the seasonal landscapes of
the East Coast. During the 1920s he also started his studies of
the New England harbor scenes. In the 1930s he painted a series
of still-life paintings.
Throughout his life one can see
Braun's independent spirit. An early indication of this can be
seen in his consistent interest with painting, following a childhood
and early youth in which he spent much time in the Metropolitan Museum
of Art. He eventually won all the available scholarships to the
National Academy of Design in New York City despite parental
disapproval. Following his formal art education and several years
as a portrait painter in that city he was convinced that he would
prefer landscape painting and that it was essential to find his own way
of doing so and in an area distanced from the major art centers of the
A move far from the East appealed to his independent
spirit. He welcomed an opportunity to meet the challenge of an entirely
new environment in which he could respond in his own way. Also, in the
city Braun was tiring of conflicting views among leaders in the art
communities of the East Coast. (7) After arriving in San Diego, Braun
started to sketch and paint and he enjoyed the challenge of new
surroundings. He then felt that he was developing in his own way.
loved Nature. His aesthetic orientation in San Diego was two
fold: first, he wanted to get acquainted with the San Diego countryside
and understand how to portray it in form and color, then play with
it. He used elements of it in the process of creating the
composition of a painting. Braun's strategy for getting a strong
understanding of the content of the landscape he wanted to paint was
the careful sketching of important details of the landscape-grasses,
rocks, trees, the nature of washes in hillsides, and the form and color
of receding hills and mountains.(8) With this understanding of the
countryside, Braun then felt free to carry out his concerns with the
composition of a painting, with creation of space and color relations,
with balance of composition, and ultimately with communication of the
fundamental essence of nature's structures.
It was through the
study of these elements of the landscape that Braun was able to capture
the qualities that communicated their essential beauty. William
H. Gerdts, in his catalogue for the 1991 exhibition Masterworks of
American Impressionism presented at the Villa Favorita in Lugano,
Switzerland quotes Braun as remarking, "Landscape should not be taken
too literally. It is what we visualize and the interpretation we
give the fantasy of our mind that counts." (9)
A training in
the National Academy of Design in New York City could lead some to
assume that Braun was in all respects an academician. That view could
be emphasized by his having started the San Diego Art Academy when he
first arrived in San Diego. Academic art traditionally refers to
literal renditions of a subject, nature as well as the human figure.
Braun pointed out that the landscape should not be taken
literally. Did he or could he transcend the literalism? His
inherent aesthetic sensitivities proved to be the more driving force.
independent spirit in pursuing his own inclinations remained
characteristic throughout his career. He was nevertheless an
apparently responsive student of William Merritt Chase, with whom he
undoubtedly studied both portrait and landscape painting, and quite
possibly certain techniques that Chase could have learned during his
studies in France. It was characteristic of Braun that the range
of his interest and enthusiasm for many art forms did not lead to
adopting their style of work himself. He felt that there were
always challenges in his own work. He never considered adopting
stylistic trends of others. However, in the early days of his
career in California he explored painting by moonlight on several
occasions. This venture can be compared to some paintings of the
Tonalist movement among Impressionists.
Our father's aesthetic
perceptions seem to have grown from an inherent sensitivity and
enthusiastic response to color and nature. Since there has been
much speculation about the source of Braun's interest in painting
landscape we find it interesting that his parents and extended family
described his enthusiasms at a very young age. We remember that
he recounted his great excitement when he first saw the typical fields
of red poppies in the European countryside. He described similar
excitement when he first became aware of stars in the night skies.
art historian John F. Kienitz recognized Braun's sensitivity and
respect for nature. Writing in the 1954 exhibition catalogue of
Braun's work at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco,
"Maurice Braun's serenity before the vexations of
life and the complexities of nature impressed all who knew him.
He was an artist of deep philosophical conviction for whom all
expressions of life were divine. So it is natural that in the
look and feel of his work you should find pastoral peace. This
peace is born of his sense of wholeness. Through an interplay of
religious respect and esthetic resolve he found equilibrium and this
was for him, as it can be for us, the secret of life itself. In his own
yet distinctive way Maurice Braun was able, out of a comparable
largeness of vision, to create space and color relations not unrelated
to the superb formal clarity reached by Cezanne.
his years our artist was partial to the desert. He wove his heart
and mind through the tangled fabric of appearance with such zeal as to
make a touching entrance to its core. In his San Diego
back-country scenes you may find that he rivals the dry lands
themselves in the perfection with which he unites a wonderfully golden
light with the stateliness of elemental forms, every part of which is
major. Braun paints the desert's natural force. In such desert,
light has its most lasting brilliance and forms rest secure in ageless
strength. His love lets him see its devastatingly precise
geometry of alkali flat and sage, of mountain and sky, as harmonies of
color in untroubled light. And so his pictures of it have as
little falsehood and as much to cherish as a Nevada morning." (10)
would have surprised our Father if he had known that his paintings
would eventually be perceived as that of an Impressionist. He
never associated himself with that art movement, although he enjoyed
the painting of many great Impressionists. He was enthusiastic
about the Impressionist's great achievements with light and color. He
welcomed Claude Monet's studies of color in relation to changing light.
In 1886 the famed art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, organized the
historic presentation of close to 300 French Impressionist paintings in
New York City. Repercussions from that exhibition reverberated in
the American art community and controversies revolved around
Impressionism for many years. Artists differed in their
acceptance or rejection of Impressionism and in the degree of that
acceptance. Although Maurice Braun was only nine years of age at
the time of the exhibition, he would have observed later the strong
contradictory positions taken within the art community as an
impressionable young art student.
Meanwhile, the Impressionist
art movement in Europe was developing in diverse ways. Many art
students as well as mature artists studied in Europe. New perspectives
were being introduced to the American art centers by artists returning
from these studies. There were visits from some leading European
artists. James McNeill Whistler brought his own variations of
Impressionism that sometimes showed a strong influence of Chinese
painting and Japanese prints. Some of Whistler's paintings
contributed to the important trend of Tonalism within the Impressionist
Braun felt that there were important differences in
aesthetic objectives between the Impressionists and himself. In part
this was due to the Impressionist's intense focus on method. He would
shake his head over Whistler's often repeated saying, "Art for Art's
sake." While Braun was at once concerned with creation of space, color
relations, and with balance of composition, ultimately he was concerned
with communicating the fundamental essence of nature's
structures. He felt that it is in the harmony and peace of a
painting that the fineness of nature communicates. Hence, a
painting may serve to enrich the lives of those who live with the
There is currently interest among students and
collectors of Braun's paintings to know more about how he went about
painting and what elements in his work can be regarded as
Impressionistic. Responding to this interest, there is an
especially useful analysis of the Impressionist's methods of obtaining
brilliant light and color in a book by Floyd Ratliff. (11) In his book,
Paul Signac and Color in Neo-Impressionism, Ratliff, a
scientist, provides students with an account of theory and research
relative to the Neo-Impressionists uses of color and light and brings
to this analysis his understanding of the visual effects of contrasting
colors and color interactions.
Ratliff found a progression in
the understanding of these effects among Impressionists. Their
understanding appeared to have guided their selection of paint and how
they could optimally use it to obtain their goal of achieving intense
brightness of color and light. The work of the artist Georges
Seurat was further progress in what Ratliff called "the cause of
Maurice Braun may have been unaware of how the
Impressionist's understanding of light and color influenced their
selection and use of oil paint. Possibly he had learned about
some aspects of this endeavor from Chase, or possibly he had figured
some of it out himself. We recall his selection of pure colors
and large amounts of white paint on his palette, similar to Ratliff's
description of the preferred palettes of the Impressionists. The
mixing of different colored paint was carried out judiciously to avoid
muddy grays. Braun and the French Impressionists sometimes found
the use of bright pure yellow "touches" against deep blue tones
useful. We can see in Kientz' comments of how remarkably Braun
captured the radiant light and subtle colors of Southern California and
the desert. His work is low key by comparison to much of the
Ratliff recognized that the
modifications in broad size and spacing of brush strokes relative to
color that some Impressionists employed were demonstrating scientific
laws of color/light interactions. How much of this sophisticated
insight had reached our father we do not know. However, for
interested students we suggest careful examination of his
paintings. We have observed these techniques in some of his
paintings. Detailed examination of Braun's painting of grasses in
foregrounds and leaves of trees reveals rich brushwork that deeply
enriches texture. Braun used broad brush strokes which varied in
form. He sometimes used the standard Impressionist wide
horizontal brush stroke for water in a river or a bay.
especially interesting historical insight is provided by Ratliff in his
accounts of the methods used not only by some of the Impressionists,
but among some artists of the earlier 19th century. These
included use of outdoor sketching recommended by the French Romantic
artist Eugene Delacroix (1798-1861). Claude Monet kept colorful
plants in his garden for students to paint outdoors when the light was
bright. His famous lily pond was created for use in outdoor
painting. Hence, we can think of some simple yet sophisticated
methods of painting as having roots in earlier times.
described as a Plein-Air artist, a trend that suggests that he painted
exclusively outdoor. As with these early artists, the outdoor
sketch was a study. From these studies there may or may not have
ultimately come a painting. Both painting and sketching outdoors
was enjoyable for him, but certainly not routine. When sketching he
used color pencils on paper and sometimes oil paint on canvas or
board. We remember one time, when he was recovering from an
illness, the family stayed for a week or two in a cottage at Mesa
Grande. Here we recall seeing him walking off to a site he had
located earlier carrying a canvas, easel and a box containing a palette
and tubes of paint. Sometime there was a folding camping chair as
well, although often he stood before the canvas for hours.
inclination to come to San Diego was not only motivated by his interest
in exploring his own artistic talents far from the concerns of the East
Coast but also by his interest in the philosophical orientation of
Theosophy which he encountered in New York. During his years as
an art student and for a number of years thereafter, the interests of
Theosophy in humanitarian causes such as child poverty received
considerable attention in New York. Theosophists also had a major
interest in the world peace movement and the group sponsored the
periodic International Peace Congresses in Europe. An
international center for the organization, promoting concepts of
international peace, had recently been established in San Diego at
Point Loma. (12) All of this was of great interest to Braun as it
was also to many artists and other professional people in Europe and
Braun was responsive to the International Peace
Movement of the Theosophical organization as well as their recognition
of art and philosophy of ancient civilizations and multiple ethnic
cultures. During this period there was minimal awareness or
understanding of these concerns, though it is now taken for granted
that the cultures of many ancient and current ethnic civilizations are
of great significance.
While Braun had thought of living in
the Theosophical Community, he was persuaded to give his full time to
his art. Space was provided for a studio in downtown San Diego in
a building that was owned by the Theosophical Society. Eventually Braun
built a studio home on Point Loma that overlooked the bay and city of
San Diego with ranges of mountains in the distance. His home was
located near the Theosophical Community and artists and writers living
in the Community sometimes gathered there socially.
these friends who had been attracted to and visited the Point Loma
Community were some major figures from Europe. The Swedish art
historian, Oswald Siren, working at that time with the King of Sweden
to create a great museum and leading center for the study of Chinese
and Japanese Art, was a periodic visitor. Reginald Machell, an
important artist, moved to the Point Loma center from England where he
had been active in the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Machell brought
this distinguished style to the buildings of this Point Loma
community. He painted remarkable decorative murals on walls of
the buildings, and carved furniture and doors for several major
The cultural climate was enriched by weekly
concerts open to the public given by the Conservatory of Music. The
plays of Shakespeare and the Greek dramatists were presented in the
outdoor Greek Theater. These are only some of the cultural
elements of this center that had a great appeal to Braun. Having
grown up in New York City, cultural institutions such as the
Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art had been
important to him. The achievements of this group who participated
in the Point Loma center are significant. The talent assembled at
this center was prodigious and made exceptional contributions to art,
literature, sociology, and San Diego history.
paintings become increasingly admired and more critics look for a
different perspective on his work, it is perhaps understandable that
the art world would believe that there is a connection between his
painting and Theosophy. At no earlier time had his art been
equated with his personal interests. Essentially Braun sought out the
Theosophical Society because of the compatibility between their
concerns and his own, but what he expressed in his painting was his own
sensitivity to the fineness of nature. Braun was not hesitant to
credit Theosophy with sharpening his insight into nature. (13) Some
writers have attributed Braun's achievements, not to his disciplined
ability as an artist, but rather to assumed mysticism or to mistaken
assumptions of religious convictions or influences. We, the
family, find these hypotheses erroneous and unjust to our father's work
and are confident that these notions would have been quickly rejected
by Braun himself. (14)
In the last years of his life Braun
made a number of automobile trips through many states. He did the
driving, yet the next morning before starting out again he made
sketches of some aspect of the country through which they drove.
There remain a large number of sketches of California and some
forty-five sketches made in eleven states that include Oklahoma, Texas,
Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Washington State. These sketches
are often studies of arid and remote areas. (15)
Braun there was always a quiet enjoyment of painting. He was a man of
few words, yet despite his manner there was deep feeling and strong
enthusiasms. As art historian John Kienitz observed:
impossible for [Braun] to look at what was small or large in nature, or
among man's things, without translating what he saw into lucid
harmonious arrangement. Here, as elsewhere in his art, delicate
relations of line, form, and color are simply signs of an even more
exquisite fineness which he knew to be basic in nature. In the
art of this man you may well find an oriental, even peculiarly Chinese
bent. You may agree that he paints as an apostle of resignation whose
spirit is like those men of Sung who could see the tragic in the turn
of an autumn leaf and still, somehow, never be defeated by it. (16)
following, with permission from the authors, is from "The Journal of
San Diego History" , Summer 2001, Volume 47, Number 3. Charlotte Brown
White and Ernest Boyer White are son and daughter of the artist.
For details on Maurice Braun's life, awards, and exhibitions see:
Martin Petersen, Second Nature: Four San Diego Artists (San Diego: San
Diego Museum of Art, 1991).
2. Nagy-Bittse was in Hungary at
the time of Braun's birth, however, after World War I when maps were
redrawn the town became part of Czechoslovakia.
3. San Diego Union, June 8, 1911.
4. San Diego Evening Tribune, June 12, 1911.
5. San Diego Union, November 11, 1911.
6. William H. Gerdts, Ten American Painters (Spanierman Gallery, 1991).
For discussion on Braun's strategy see: Joachim Smith, "The Splendid,
Silent Sun: Reflections on the Light and Color of Southern California"
in California Light, 1900-1930, exh. cat., Patricia Trenton and William
H. Gerdts, eds. (Laguna Beach, Calif.: Laguna Art Museum, 1990).
William H. Gerdts, Masterworks of American Impressionism, exh. cat.,
(Einsiedeln, Switzerland: Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation with Eidolon
AG, 1991), 136. Braun was among the 25 outstanding American artists
whose work was included in this exhibition.
10. John Fabian Kienitz, Maurice Braun, exh. cat. (San Francisco: M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, 1954).
Floyd Ratliff, Paul Signac and Color in Neo-Impressionism, including
the first English edition of Paul Signac, From Eugène Delacroix to
Neo-Impressionism, trans. Willa Silverman (New York: Rockefeller
University Press, 1992).
12. For detailed information on the
Theosophical Society in San Diego see: Emmett A. Greenwalt, The Point
Loma Community in California 1897-1942: A Theosophical Experiment (Los
Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).
13. Ibid., 124.
We have found particularly troubling and inaccurate the conclusions put
forward by two different authors: Ilene Susan Fort in her essay
"Altered State(s): California Art and the Inner World," in Reading
California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000 (Los Angeles: Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, 2000), 31-49 and portions of Joachim
Smith's essay "The Splendid, Silent Sun: Reflections on the Light and
Color of Southern California" in California Light, 1900-1930, exh.
cat., Patricia Trenton and William H. Gerdts, eds. (Laguna Beach,
Calif.: Laguna Art Museum, 1990), 88-89.
15. Three of these sketches are reproduced in this volume with the color plates.
16. Kienitz, Maurice Braun.
Braun White and Ernest Boyer Braun are the two children of Maurice
Braun and Hazel Boyer Braun. Dr. White's graduate studies in art
history at the Institute of Art History at New York University were
interrupted by World War II. She later received her Ph.D. in
Psychology. Ernest Braun is a noted photographer who has published
several books of nature photography. Dr. White resides in San Diego,
Mr. Braun lives in the San Francisco area.
established California plein-air painter in the Impressionist style,
Maurice Braun painted landscapes reflecting moods of nature and his
skill of showing the varying effects of light put San Diego into the
national art scene.
Biography from the Archives of askART
He was born in Nagy Bittse, Hungary, and
immigrated to New York City in 1881 when he was four years old. He
showed early art talent and interest and as a youngster, copying works
of art at the Metropolitan Museum. From 1897 to 1902, he studied at the
Academy of Design and then for one year with William Merritt Chase at
the Chase School, which became the New York School. In 1902, he went to
Europe, painting in Austria, Germany, and Hungary.
He became a
noted portrait and figure painter in New York but felt confined by
subject matter. Then in 1910, attracted to the California landscape as
a subject for his painting, he moved to San Diego and from his studio
on Point Loma painted the French Impressionist influenced landscapes
for which he became known.
He was initially drawn to
California because of an active Theosophical Society of which he had
been a member since college and which espoused the merging of truths
common to all religions. A special part of that religion was light as
metaphor, a technique that he perfected in his painting.
1912, he founded the San Diego Academy of Art and was its director for
many years, although he returned to the East in 1921 and established
studios in New York City, Silvermine, and Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Several years later he returned to San Diego but from 1924 to 1929,
continued to spend part of each year in the East.
In 1929, he
became one of the founders of the Contemporary Artists of San Diego,
and he was also active in art circles in San Francisco and Los Angeles
and exhibited with the California Art Club. He traveled and painted in
the Southwest including the Grand Canyon.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Biography from David Cook Galleries
Born in Nagy Bittse, Hungary on Oct. 1, 1877. Braun immigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1881 and settled in NYC. He began drawing at age three and in his early teens was apprenticed to a jeweler. In 1897 he began a five year study period at the NAD followed by one year with Wm M. Chase. He was an established portrait and figure painter in New York before moving to San Diego in 1910. After opening a studio on Point Loma, he founded the San Diego Academy of Art in 1912 and served as its director for many years. Braun remained in San Diego except for the years 1922-24 when he maintained a studio in Silvermine, CT. His Impressionist paintings of the Southwest desert, southern California hills, and High Sierra brought him great national acclaim. At the end of his career he specialized in still lifes of flowers and oriental objets d'art. An ardent follower of Theosophy, their teachings of the unity of nature and man is evident in his work. Braun died in San Diego on Nov. 7, 1941. Member: San Diego Theosophical Society; Laguna Beach AA; San Diego FA Ass'n; Calif. Art Club; Academy of Western Painters; San Diego Art Guild (cofounder, 1915); San Diego Contemporary Artists (cofounder, 1929); Salmagundi Club (NY). Exh: NAD, 1900 (prize), 1911-15; Carnegie Inst., 1911-15; Daniell Gallery (LA), 1911; Kanst Gallery (LA), 1914-19; PPIE, 1915; Panama-Calif. Expo (San Diego), 1915-16 (gold medals); Babcock Gallery (NYC), 1918; LACMA, 1918, 1920 (solos); Ten Painters Club (LA), 1919; Painters of the West (LA), 1924; San Diego FA Gallery, 1928 (solo); GGIE, 1939; De Young Museum, 1954 (retrospective). In: San Diego Museum; LACMA; Bloomington (IL) AA; Orange County (CA) Museum; Houston Museum; Riverside and San Bernardino Municipal Collections; Phoenix Municipal Collection; Women's Athletic Club (LA); Irvine (CA) Museum; Theosophy Center (Pasadena); Commercial Club (LA).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"Southern California Artists
(Nancy Moure); Los Angeles Times, 11-15-1914; Impressionism, The California View; California Impressionism
(Wm. Gerdts & Will South); California Design, 1910; Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs
(Bénézit, E); Art in California
(R. L. Bernier, 1916); American Art Annual
1919-33; Southwest Magazine, March 1924; Who's Who in American Art
1936-41; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers
(Fielding, Mantle); Artists of the American West
(Samuels); Plein Air Painters
(Ruth Westphal); Artists of the American West
(Doris Dawdy); So. California Artists,1890-1940.Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here
Biography from Lawrence Beebe Fine Art
Born Hungary, 1877
Died California, 1941
At the age of four, Maurice Braun and his family left their home in Hungary for the United States, settling in New York City. After rebelling against an apprenticeship with a jeweler, arranged by his family, the teenage Braun was given permission to pursue studies in art.
He began by copying paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He later received formal training at the National Academy of Design where he studied still life and portrait painting under George W. Maynard, Edgar M. Ward, and Francis C. Jones. Braun then devoted a year of study with William Merritt Chase before leaving for Europe in 1902 to study and copy Old Master paintings.
After a year abroad, Braun returned to New York where he established a reputation as a figure and portrait painter. In 1910, Braun's affiliation with the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, a spiritualist organization, brought him to California. Braun settled in San Diego where the Society provided him with a studio on Point Loma. After the move, Braun changed his focus to landscape painting.
He received national recognition for his Impressionistic landscapes set in the southern California hills, the High Sierras, and the Southwest desert.Between the years of 1921 and 1923, the artist returned to the east where he maintained a studio in Silvermine, Connecticut.
In 1924, he returned to San Diego, but divided his time between California and the East for the next five years. While in California, Braun became an active member of the artist community and in 1912, he founded the San Diego Fine Arts Academy which he directed for several years. He cofounded the San Diego Art Guild in 1915 and was a cofounder of the Contemporary Artists in San Diego in 1929.
Braun held membership in several other clubs including the Laguna Beach Art Association, the San Diego Fine Art Association, the California Art Club, the Salmagundi Club, and the Academy of Western Painters. During the 1930's, Braun returned to portraiture and painted still lifes that combined orientalizing motifs with natural objects. His involvement with the Theosophical Society and subsequently, transcendentalism, also increased during this time. Maurice Braun continued to live in California until his death in 1941.
Maurice Braun was born on October 1, 1877 in Nagy Bittse, which then, was within the boundaries of Hungary and now is a resort in Czechoslovakia. Hungarian by birth, at the age of four Maurice and the Braun family migrated to the United States and settled in New York City.
Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, III
As a young man Maurice Braun rejected a career as a jeweler and instead opted to become a painter. From 1897 to 1900 his professional studies took him to the National Academy of Fine Arts studying in the French academic tradition under Francis C. Jones, George W. Maynard and Edgar M. Ward. Following his training at the Academy, in 1901 Braun studied for one year with the famous American painter William Merritt Chase.
After having been established in New York as a figure and portrait painter, Braun left for California in 1909 to escape the influence of his fellow artists. California's incredible landscape proved to be inspirational. Reveling in the color and forms of the region, with a strong sense of composition, he masterfully balanced the challenges of California's intense light and color. His landscapes reflect a deep respect and appreciation for nature.
Captivated by San Diego and southern California throughout his career, Braun became an integral figure of the Southern California landscape school along with his contemporaries Charles Reiffel, Charles A. Fries, Leon Bonnet and Elliot Torrey. He was considered by many to be San Diego's most famous of early painters. He maintained studios in San Diego, California and Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Maurice Braun won the Hallgarten Prize, National Academy of Design in 1900 and later the Gold Medal at the Panama-California Exposition, San Diego in 1915,1916. His paintings can be found in the Houston Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Laguna Beach Museum of Art and the San Diego Museum of Art. Maurice Braun died in his beloved city, San Diego, on November 7, 1941.
Maurice Braun (1877-1941) was an American artist who became known for Impressionist landscapes of southern California. He was born in Hungary on October 1, 1877, however by the age of four young Maurice and the Braun family had migrated to the United States and settled in New York City.
Biography from Vallejo Gallery LLC
His professional studies took him to the National Academy of Fine Arts where he studied the French tradition under Francis C. Jones, George W. Maynard and Edgar M. Ward.
In 1901 Braun trained under the American painter William Merritt Chase (1849-1916). He established himself as a figure and portrait painter in New York City, but in 1909 he left for California. Maurice Braun died in San Diego, California on November 7, 1941.
Hallgarten Prize, National Academy of Design, 1900;
• Gold Medal, Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1915-16.
• Salmagundi Club
• Laguna Beach Art Association
Galleries and public collections
• Houston Museum, Texas
• Laguna Art Museum, California
• Irvine Museum, Irvine, California
• Los Angeles County Museum of Art
• San Diego Museum of Art.
• Literature: Second Nature, Four Early San Diego Landscape Painters by Milton E. Peterson, 1991;
• Literature: Artists in California, 1786-1940, by Edan Milton Hughes, 1989;
• Literature: Plein Air Painters of the Southland, by Ruth Lily Westphal, 1996.
Painter, lecturer and teacher, Maurice Braun was born in Nagy Bittse,
Hungary, but had emigrated to New York by age four. At age
twenty, he began studying art with E.M. Ward and George Maynard at the
National Academy of Fine Art, and later with William Merritt Chase in
New York. In 1902-3, he traveled to Europe to study the Old
Biography from Heritage Auctions
In 1910, Braun moved permanently to San Diego,
California where he became famous as one of the early San Diego
painters. His paintings had strong impressionistic qualities and
close attention to the outdoor effects of light. He was
instrumental in founding San Diego's Academy of Art in 1912, the Art
Guild in 1915, and Contemporary Artists in 1929.
many honors including the Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy
and gold medals at the 1910 and 1916 World Fairs.
Hungarian-born Maurice Braun developed a successful career as an Impressionist landscape painter in southern California. His art training began in New York City, where he studied still-life and portrait painting at the National Academy of Design and then apprenticed for a year with William Merritt Chase, adopting permanently his Impressionist technique.
Biography from Fleischer Museum
A spiritualist and philosopher, Braun moved to San Diego in 1910 in order to participate in a new division of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society. California quickly became his new home: he focused his landscape subjects on the southern California hills and the Sierra Mountains, and he bolstered the local arts community by founding the San Diego Fine Arts Academy in 1912.
A landscape painter, Maurice Braun immigrated with his family to the United States in 1881. He studied at National Academy of Design, New York from 1897-1900 and then with William Merritt Chase for a year before going to Europe for a six-month tour. In 1903, he returned to New York, and in 1909, moved to California.
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He opened a studio on Point Loma, San Diego. He founded the San Diego Academy of Art in 1912 and was a founding member of the San Diego Art Guild in 1915. He also affiliated with the American Theosophical Society and was a Gold Medalist at Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1915-16. In the 1920s, he began spending part of each year painting in the East, including at the Art Colony in Old Lyme, Conneticut.
Braun had a one-artist show at the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, 1928, and with the Contemporary Artists of San Diego, 1929. He was a member of the California Art Club, Los Angeles, and the Laguna Beach Art Association. In 1954, he had a retrospective exhibition at M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco.
Credit: California Impressionism By William H. Gerdts and Will South
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