Alphonse Maureau (ca. 1830 – ca. 1880/3)
An unknown Impressionist painting like Monet
Maureau joined only the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877:
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Maureau showed probably at least 7 works (catalogue numbers 86-89; R2,p205). He than lived at 8, Rue Coustou (see map) and was called ‘Maureau (Alphonse)’. The works he showed were:
- 1877-86 La place Pigalle
(See map, see street view.) La place Pigalle was close to Maureau’s home at 8, Rue Coustou.
- 1877-87 Bords de la Seine
(Eng.: Banks of the Seine.) Charles Bigot writes in ‘La Revue Politique et Littéraire (1877/04/28) ‘… one or two little sketches (nos. 87 and 88)’ (R2,p220), which would suggest this work also was small. Maybe it was ‘The Seine at Neuilly’ (see above).
- 1877-88 Bords de la Seine
Moffett writes that according to O’Squarr, an art-critic writing in ‘Le Courrier de France’ (1877/04/06), Maureau’s entry no. 88 consisted of three small panels (R2,p220). So I think the small painting that Moffett (R2,p220) and Walther (R3,p289) renders, that is now in Florence, was one of the three (see below). It was later bought by Diego Martelli (aR7). Moffett suggests this work perhaps could be no. 87 or 88 (R2,p205+220).
- 1877-89 Animaux
(Eng.: Animals.) This title could indicate he showed two or more works depicting animals or one painting depicting two or more animals on that one painting. As no.88 consisted of 3 small works I suggest to assume no.89 contained of at least 2 works.
The 3 comments of art-critics Moffett quotes (R2,p220) all talk of studies and are quite positive, especially about his use of colour. Other positive characteristics they gave, were: solid, fresh, luminous, a fine sense of variety, powerful.
Maureau only exhibited one time at the Salon in 1876:
In 1876, so in the year before he joined the impressionists, Louis-Alphonse Maureau exhibited one work at the Salon:
- S1876-1425 ‘Le boulevard de Clichy ; effet de matin’.
The database notes he was born in New Orleans and now lived at the ‘Rue Coustou, 8, Montmartre’ (Paris; the same adres as in 1877, see above). The work was owned by ‘le Comte de Couronnel’ (iR1). The Boulevard de Clichy lies near to his house (see map). The subtitle (in English) ‘effect of morning’ suggests an ‘impressionistic’ way of painting.
This was the only time Maureau exhibited at the Salon. It is not clear if he did submit more often and was rejected.
What is known about the unknown Maureau?
Walther (R3,p679) writers Alphonse Maureau was a friend of Degas, Manet and Desboutin and that he often joined the meetings in Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes, where Manet did portray him in 1878/9 (aR5; see above). It was Degas who invited him to join the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877. (In september 1877 Maureau would go with Degas to Fontainebleau, but he had to cancel it because of an attack of arthritis (aR6). Maureau also was befriended with Nina de Callias, the musician Cabaner and the art-critic Duranty. Spiess (R16,p211) only affirms that Degas invited Maureau for the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition. Further more he only writes that Alphonse Maureau was hardly known and disappeared out of sight. (This is to be questioned, since he stayed living in Paris, see below.)
On the internet Wikipedia writes he was born in about 1830; the source remains unclear. The English site writes he died about 1883 (iR3; also with an unknown source). The Dutch site writes he died in 1880 citing an archive of the civil office (iR5). But this painter who was born in New Orleans was 40 years old, which would mean Maureau was born in 1840, what the French Wikipedia site claims (iR4). The archive also informes he lived at the ‘boulevard de Rochechouart, 51 (see map). An adres, a bit east of the Place Pigalle, that is not confirmed by other sources. This date contradicts an assumed active role of Maureau in the 1881 auction in Hôtel Drouot (see below).
There is some more information about other exhibitions Maureau joined and where he lived (see below), but that’s about it. The ULAN names ‘Maureau, A. a French painter active in the 19th century’ (iR60). Was he French or American being born in New Orleans?
Most of the other sources on the internet are about Maureau joining the ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877, his work ‘Banks of the Seine’ and most of all the portrait of Manet. It’s irritating that sources (on impressionism) more often render this portrait of Manet (who often didn’t paint in an impressionist style), than rendering works of Maureau who in his painting style equals Monet, Sisley and Pissarro. I hope that in the next years there will be more works of Maureau made public.
In the newspaper the ‘New Orleans Republican’ the name ‘Alphonse Maureau’ several times appears (aR8). In 1870/04/14 as appointed by the Governor as ‘public administrator, Lafourche parish’ (which is south-west of New Orleans, see map). In 1871/06/02 there is an announcement of a verdict from 1871/05/19 that will be repeated several times in the next editions about ‘Mary B., wife of Alphonse Maureau’ It says there was ‘judgement in her favor decreeing her to be separate in property form her husband’. In 1876/10/31, in an article about the sell of a property, ‘Mrs. Mary B. Lock’ is called ‘wife of Alphonse Maureau’. It is not clear if this is our impressionist painter, but let us assume it is so. Other sources tell that they married 1867/05/13 in (New) Orleans (iR67) and that Mary B. Locke died 1899/05/22 (iR69). She must be born around 1847-49 and is buried in New Orleans.
Others exhibitions of Maureau:
Maureau also did exhibit with the ‘société des amis des arts’ in Pau and Nancy both in 1878 (iR5) and at Hôtel Drouot in 1881 (iR3). Pau lies in the south of France about 50km north of the Pyrénées (see map) and Nancy lies about 50km east of Paris (see map). In Pau (1878/01/18 onwards) he exhibited 3 works (aR2; iR5):
- Pau1878-236 Station de fiacres sur le boulevard de Clichy
(Eng.: Station of hackney carriages on the Boulevard de Clichy.) Compare S1876-1425. Compare also the painting of Hassam (see below).
- Pau1878-237 La Seine à Neuilly
Neuilly-sur-Seine lies at the west side of Paris (see map). There is a painting known with the same title (see painting at the top). There is an unclear signature at the bottom right depicting ‘L.A.I.M.71’. Sources indicate it was made in 1871 (iR2; iR6). If this is true, Maureau made a very impressionistic work at a time when Monet, Pissarro, Sisley and others were still busy developing an impressionistic painting style.
- Pau1878-238 Animaux dans l’Ile de St.-Denis
(Eng.: Animals in the island of St.-Denis; see map; Île-Saint-Denis is a long island in the Seine just north of Paris.) Compare with 1877-89 ‘Animaux’.
In Nancy in 1878 (from 05/25 – 07/15) he exhibited one work (aR3; iR5):
- Nancy1878-412 L’été
(Eng.: Summer). Probably this is a painting depicting the summer.
At the Hôtel Drouot in Paris one work of Maureau was auctioned in 1881/05/14 (aR4; iR3). The auction was an initiative of Franc Lamy to support his sick friend the musician Cabaner (compare R3,p679). This assumes an active role of Maureau to send in a work of his own, which would imply he didn’t die in 1880:
- Drouot1881-23 Bords du Loing, à Moret
(Eng.: Banks of the Loing at Moret; Moret lies about 60km south-east of Paris, see map). Note that Sisley lived in the surroundings of Moret since 1879. Were they befriended? Do writings of Sisley refer to Maureau?
Where did Maureau live?
Maureau was born in New-Orleans, USA (iR1; aR2; iR3). Askart mentions he was active / lived in Louisiana (iR41). In publications of the ‘New Orleans Republican’ of 1870 and 1871 there are announcements concerning ‘Alphonse Maureau’ (aR8). I assume this is the same person as our impressionist painter. Did Maureau shortly afterwards move to Paris? Our did he meet Degas in New Orleans, when he was visiting his family from 1872/10 until 1873/04 (R26,p12)? In 1876 and 1877 he lived in Montmartre at the Rue Coustou, 8 (iR1; R2,p205). In Januar 1878 when exhibiting in Pau he lived the ‘Passage de l’Elysée des Beaux-Arts, 39’ (aR2; maybe this is now the Rue de l’Elysée, see map). Later that year in may when he exhibited in Nancy he lived at the Rue Durantin, 1, Paris (aR3; this is a bit north of the Rue Coustou, see map). According to a Dutch Wikipedia site he died in 1880, while he lived at the Boulevard de Rochechouart, 51 (iR5). This would have ment he lived at 3 different adresses within 2 years.
Did Maureau paint in an impressionistic style?
There are hardly works known of Maureau, so it is hard to tell something profound about his painting style. When we look at his two river views of the Seine (see above) they were surely painted in an impressionist painting style. His frequently use of indication of place and sometimes an indication of the time of day (see S1876-1425) indicates an impressionist painting style. Paul Mantz (1877/04/22) writes about ‘studies from nature’, which indicates painting en-plein-air (R2,p220). Still it is curious that his ‘Seine at Neuilly’ (see at the top) resembles a painting of Daubigny from 1865 (see below) and his ‘view of the port of Quimper’ resembles a painting of Boudin from 1857 (iR6; see below; Quimper lies in Brittany, see map) . Though there are also differences, especially in the last one. Did Maureau copy those works (in his studio) or was he inspired and did he make his own versions en-plein-air? Of some works it is unclear if they were made by Maureau, such as a self-portrait and an untitled work (see above). Artnet also mentions a work called ‘Strassenszene mit Passanten und zwei Kutchen’ (Eng.: Street scene with people walking by and two carriages), size 46×56 and auctioned 2015/10/26, but renders no picture (iR13). Also looking at the titles of works exhibited Maureau mostly painted river views, street scenes and animals.
My main sources are Moffett (1986 = R2), Walther (2013 = R3) and Wikipedia (iR5). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6), the-athenaeum.org (calling him Louis Maureau; iR2) and the less reliable google.images (iR10). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
- gallica.bnf.fr (Maureau’s partaking in 1878 in Pau)
- gallica.bnf.fr (Maureau’s partaking in 1878 in Nancy)
- gallica.bnf.fr (Maureau’s partaking in the 1881 auction at Drouot)
- web.archive.org (PDF from the Toledo museum referring to the portrait of Manet)
- google.books.nl (a quote from J.S. Boggs: Degas. Metropolitan, New York, 1988)
- polomusale.firenze.it (page referring to an exposition on impressionism in Florence from 2013/009/13 – 2014/05/01)
- chroniclingamerica.loc.gov (New Orleans Republic mentioning Alphonse Maureau)