Paul Maze was born in Le Havre in 1887, and spent his childhood living alongside the estuary of the Seine. It was in his native Le Havre that Paul was regularly privy to watching the great masters Pissarro and Dufy as they painted on the beach.Maze received his education in England and went on to fight for Britain in World War I. It was in the trenches where he met Winston Churchill who became a lifelong friend, a friend that Maze encouraged to paint. Following the end of the war, Maze became an integral feature of the Parisian art scene along with his notable contemporaries including Derain, de Segonzac, Levy, Roussel and in particular Vuillard, who convinced him that he would make his mark on the art world by using pastels.
During his early career in Le Havre, Maze was fortunate to have known Dufy, Braque, and Friez intimately before moving to Paris where he later came into contact with Vuillard, Bonnard, Segonzac, Simon Levy and Derain, all of whom greatly influenced and aided the development of his own artistic talent.
There are several accounts of Maze’s talent by notable contemporaries such as Winston Churchill, who wrote at the time of his first New York exhibition in 1939: “His great knowledge of painting and draughtsmanship have enabled him to perfect his remarkable gift. With the fewest of strokes he can create an impression at once true and beautiful. Here is no toiling seeker after preconceived effects, but a vivid and powerful interpreter to us of the forces and harmony of Nature.”
In addition, de Segonzac wrote of Maze’s 1945 exhibition in Paris: “Paul Maze is above all an intuitive artist; he is the antithesis of the contemporary school of painting which wishes to ignore nature and to practise an art of the laboratory. Paul Maze’s Norman origin, his childhood spent in the region of the estuary of the Seine, classifies him with the painters of Honfleur, Rouen, Havre. Jongkind, Boudin, Claude Monet are his visual ancestors; and, like them, with his ‘gris colore’ he is the poet of the sky and water. Marvelously gifted, overflowing with life, his talent evokes wonderfully everything that is fluid, mobile and living in Nature.”
Maze’s love of life and of art shines in his works. His paintings are warm and vibrant; they need no explaining; they tell where and when they were painted. They are pleasant to live with. Maze has succeeded in capturing to perfection the spirit of his subject, be it horseracing, yachting, an English landscape, a Seine bridge or the Royal Guards. He has no formulas. His treatment is direct, spontaneous, free – like the man. “Le Charmant Paul Maze” is a chapter title in Thadée Natanson’s book on high-ranking contemporary artists, Peints A Leur Tour – and charm indeed is the striking quality immediately evident in Maze’s works. His pictures sparkle with it – as does the artist – and at the same time reveal his taste, solidity and finesse.
Maze’s works are in many major galleries including the Tate, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum, and in private collections worldwide, including HRM The Queen Mother’s.