Maurice Braun

American, 1877 - 1941
Maurice Braun (1877-1941)

Maurice Braun was born in Nagy Bittse, Hungary on Oct. 1, 1877. Braun immigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1881 and settled in NYC. He began drawing at age three and in his early teens was apprenticed to a jeweler. In 1897 Maurice Braun began a five year study period at the NAD followed by one year with Wm M. Chase. He was an established portrait and figure painter in New York before moving to San Diego in 1910.

After opening a studio on Point Loma in San Diego, Maurice Braun founded the San Diego Academy of Art in 1912 and served as its director for many years. Braun remained in San Diego except for the years 1922-24 when he maintained a studio in Silvermine, CT. His Impressionist paintings of the Southwest desert, southern California hills, and High Sierra brought him great national acclaim. At the end of his career he specialized in still lifes of flowers and oriental objets d'art. An ardent follower of Theosophy, their teachings of the unity of nature and man is evident in his work. Maurice Braun died in San Diego on Nov. 7, 1941>

Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California 1786-1940"
Maurice Braun
Born Hungary, 1877
Died California, 1941

At the age of four, Maurice Braun and his family left their home in Hungary for the United States, settling in New York City. After protesting an apprenticeship with a jeweler, the teenage Braun was given permission to pursue studies in art. He began by copying paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He later received formal training at the National Academy of Design where he studied still life and portrait painting under George W. Maynard, Edgar M. Ward, and Francis C. Jones. Braun then devoted a year of study with William Merritt Chase before leaving for Europe in 1902 to study and copy Old Master paintings. After a year abroad, Braun returned to New York where he established a reputation as a figure and portrait painter.

In 1910, Braun's affiliation with the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society, a spiritualist organization, brought him to California. Braun settled in San Diego where the Society provided him with a studio on Point Loma. After the move, Braun changed his focus to landscape painting. He received national recognition for his Impressionistic landscapes set in the southern California hills, the High Sierras, and the Southwest desert.

Between the years of 1921 and 1923, the artist returned to the east where he maintained a studio in Silvermine, Connecticut. In 1924, he returned to San Diego, but divided his time between California and the East for the next five years.

While in California, Braun became an active member of the artist community and in 1912, he founded the San Diego Fine Arts Academy which he directed for several years. He cofounded the San Diego Art Guild in 1915 and was a cofounder of the Contemporary Artists in San Diego in 1929. Braun held membership in several other clubs including the Laguna Beach Art Association, the San Diego Fine Art Association, the California Art Club, the Salmagundi Club, and the Academy of Western Painters.

During the 1930's, Braun returned to portraiture and painted still lifes that combined orientalizing motifs with natural objects. His involvement with the Theosophical Society and subsequently, transcendentalism, also increased during this time. Maurice Braun continued to live in California until his death in 1941.

Exhibited: National Academy of Design, 1900 (prize), 1911-15; Carnegie Institute, 1911-15; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1914, 1917-19; Panama-California Exposition, San Diego, 1916 (gold); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1918 (solo), 1920 (solo); Corcoran Gallery, 1921; California Annual, San Diego, 1934; Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco, 1939; Art Institute of Chicago.

Works held: Houston Art Museum; Laguna Beach Museum of Art; Los Angeles Commercial Club; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Women's Athletic Club; Municipal Collection, Phoenix; Art Association, Wichita, Kansas; Art Association, Bloomington, Illinois; Riverside and San Bernadino, California; San Antonio Art Association; Theosophy Center, Pasadena, California.

Further Reading: Artists in California, 1786-1940, Edan Milton Hughes, Hughes Publishing, San Francisco, 1986.; California Grandeur and Genre: From the Collection of James L. Coran and Walter A. Nelson-Rees, Iona M. Chelette, Katherine Plake Hough and Will South, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California, 1991.; Early Artists in Laguna Beach: the Impressionists, Janet Blake Dominik, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California, 1986.; The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.; Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 1. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds., Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols.

Biography courtesy of David Cook Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/davidcook
Braun was born in Nagy Bittse, Hungary on October 1, 1877. Braun immigrated to the United States in 1881 and settled in New York City. He began drawing at age three and in his early teens was apprenticed to a jeweler. In 1897 he began a five year study period at the National Academy of Design followed with one year with William Merritt Chase. He was an established portrait and figure painter in New York before moving to San Diego in 1910. After opening a studio on Point Loma he founded the San Diego Academy of Art in 1912 and served as its director for many years. In 1915 he was a co-founder of the San Diego Art Guild and in 1929 cofounded Contemporary Artists in San Diego. Braun remained in San Diego except for the years 1922-1924 when he maintained a studio in Silvermine, Connecticut. His Impressionist paintings of Southern California hills, the High Sierra's and Southwest deserts have brought him great national acclaim. At the end of his career he specialized in still lifes of flowers and oriental objets d'art. An avid follower of Theosophy, their teachings of the unity of nature and man is evident in his work. Braun died in San Diego on November 7, 1941.

Biography courtesy of DeRu's Fine Arts, www.antiquesandfineart.com/derus
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