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 Maxwell Ashby Armfield  (1881 - 1972)

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Lived/Active: New York/California / England      Known for: landscape, figure, mural, illustrator

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Ad Code: 2
Maxwell Ashby Armfield
from Auction House Records.
Madison Square Park, New York
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A prolific painter, illustrator, and decorative artist, who lived primarily in England but spent seven years in the United States, Maxwell Armfield was born in Ringwood, England to Quaker parents.  His father was a milling engineer.   In 1899, Armfield entered the Birmingham School of Art and was much influenced by Henry Payne, Gaskin and Southall, "who taught him the tempera technique he was to practice for the rest of his life".  He was also very impressed by his exposure to Pre-Raphaelite painting.

In 1902, he visited Italy and then went to Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and sharing a studio with Norman Wilkinson, Keith Henderson and the sculptor Gaston Lachaise.

In 1904 his painting Faustine, inspired by the English poet Algernon Swinburne, was bought for the Luxembourg Museum.

In 1905, he returned to London and had a series of "one-man exhibitions that were henceforth to mark his career".  These included venues of the Robert Ross's Carfax Gallery (1908, 1912), the Leicester Galleries and the Royal Academy.

In 1909, he married the writer Constance Smedley, with whom he was to work closely until her death in 1941.  In 1915 they left for their extended visit to America, which included a Santa Fe Railway trip to California.

"He was also a tireless researcher into occult religions, and passionately interested in the formal and philosophical basis of art.  Neglected for many years after the Second World War, he lived to see a revival of interest in his work before his death at the age of ninety-one in 1972."

Submitted by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier


Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store:
Painter, illustrator. Born in Ringwood, England on Oct. 5, 1881. Armfield studied art under Arthur Gaskin and Henry Payne. He was active in Los Angeles in 1918 and the following year moved to Berkeley. While there he wrote "The Syntax of Art, Rhythmic Shape" (Greenleaf Press, 1920). He was also the author-illustrator of An Artist in America (London: Methuen & Co., 1925).

Working in tempera and watercolor, he painted landscapes and figures.

Armfield died on Jan. 23, 1972. Member: NY Arch. League. In: Santa Fe Railway (Chicago); Luxembourg Gallery. AAA 1917-25; Ben; Rd; AAW.
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.

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