André Maire

Portrait of André   Maire

French artist André Maire (1898, Paris - 1984) has extensively sketched and painted Angkor with both artistic and architectural perspectives.

After studying painting under the guidance of his mentor Émile Bernard (1)-- renowned artist whose daughter, Irene, Maire married to in 1922 --, the "traveling artist" discovered South East India while serving as a private in French colonial infantry. He started painting Angkorian ruins and scenes of Cambodian life in 1919, and this first exposure to the Khmer ancient civilization inspired his work until his death in 1984.

An avid traveler, he painted in Spain -- where he was in artist's residence at the Casa Velasquez during two years --, Egypt, India, Africa, and went back to South East Asia in 1948, residing in Saigon and Dalat while exploring the Mekong Basin from Laos to Vietnam to Cambodia's Northeast, and Angkor again. In total, Maire spent 13 years around what was then called Indochina.

André Maire's body of work dedicated to Angkor, and his art in general, does not really fit in the category of "Orientalist painting". He immersed himself in ancient cultures and architectural treasures, seeking the expertise of researchers, especially Henri Marchal, first "Conservateur" of the Angkorian site. His artistic contribution to a better understanding of Angkor was acknowledged by the EFEO in the 1970s.

(1) French symbolist painter and writer Émile Bernard (1868-1941) frequently corresponded with such important artists and authors as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Odilon Redon, Paul Cézanne, Léon Bloy, Guillaume Apollinaire, Joris-Karl Huysmans...

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