Maurice Cullen

Canadian, Royal Canadian Academy, Pen & Pencil Club

Maurice Cullen

Maurice Cullen was born in 1866 in Newfoundland in St. John. The family moved to Montreal when Cullen was 4 years old. As a teenager, young Cullen is suited to the National Institute of Fine Arts, Science, Arts and Crafts. He takes private lessons and becomes the apprentice of the sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert. The latter has just won the important commissions of the Parliament of Quebec and the Cathedral Marie-Reine-du-Monde in Montreal. Maurice Cullen was therefore Master Hébert's apprentice and helped him to carve the Apostles on the facade of the Cathedral.

In 1889, in his early twenties, he left for Paris where he studied at the School of Fine Arts, then the Julian Academy. He meets Jean-Léon Gérôme, fraternizes with his Canadian compatriots, J.W. Morrice and William Brymner. Maurice Cullen decides to leave the sculpture to immerse himself in the impressionism, current modern of the time. With his friend James W. Morrice, they are often present at the Cafe de Versailles, Auguste Rodin, Thaulow and poets such as Paul Verlaine.

Despite increasing success in Europe, Maurice Cullen returns to Canada to invest in the mission to promote Impressionism in Canada. Upon his arrival, he exhibited some works from the W. Scott & Son Gallery and quickly joined the Pen & Pencil Club. Although the review is unanimous and salutes the talent of Maurice Cullen, he can not sell his works to Canadian collectors. He made trips to Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré north of Quebec City to perfect his Impressionist techniques on Canadian landscapes. During the following years, Maurice Cullen wrote pictures of his country with criticism but always had difficulties to control them.

Maurice Cullen became an associate member of the Royal Academy of Canada in 1899. The success and artist finally smiled after winning the bronze medal at the Missouri World's Fair in 1904. He and William Brymner set up a studio in St -Eustache received the title of Official Member of the Royal Academy of Canada in 1907. He eventually sells works to major Canadian collectors and the National Gallery of Canada. He married Barbara Pilot in 1910 and became the father-in-law of young Robert Pilot. Cullen will naturally become Robert Pilot's mentor and the career of the young artist. In addition to Pilot, Maurice Cullen taught and organized trips to the Quebec countryside with young artists such as A.Y. Jackson, Kathleen Morris and others. He was engaged as a war artist during the First World War. Upon returning to the country, the artist resumes teaching duties. The following years are fast for the artist, he continues to exhibit at the Art Association and sales in the galleries are numerous. Maurice Cullen becomes easily accessible from different landscapes of the Laurentians and the southern region of Montreal from his residences. He was invited to participate in an exhibition with the group of seven at the Toronto Art Gallery in 1926.

Maurice Cullen is thus considered the father of Canadian Impressionism by his dedication to Canadian landscapes and his revelation of a generation of artists who will succeed him.


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