André Maire, Peintre Voyageur (The Traveling Artist)
by Collective & André Maire
Publisher: Somogy éditions d'art
Language : French
With his so diverse stylistic range, from early naturalism to drawings and watercolors that make him a true master in decorative arts, André Maire has explored the world in a profundly humanistic and poetic way, far from the voyeuristic excesses to which so many "Orientalist" artists have succombed.
"Transcended exoticism": that is how art critic Corinne de Ménonville describes Maire's approach all along, starting from his youthful enthusiasm at discovering faraway lands and vibrant cultures until the last years, while he was still busy revisiting his earlier works on Angkor with the eye of an architect, a sculptor, a chronicler of past civilizations and a man humbly in love with our planet.
Through his most accomplished paintings, André Maire also captures how harmoniously Asian people, especially in Cambodia but also in Laos and Vietnam, live with their past, their traditions and their customs.
Contributors: Emmanuel Bréon, Lorédana Hascoët-Marie, Félix Marcilhac, Philippe Chabert, Louis Mézin, Lynne Thornton, Corinne de Ménonville, Solange Thierry, Matthieu Pinette, Titien Maire.
"Angkor Vat le soir", 1978
"Femmes devant un bas-relief d'Angkor Vat", 1950
About the Authors
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...