Cubist Still Life with Pear, c. 1930–32
Abstract Portraits: Man and Woman, c. 1930–32
Alfred H. Maurer
b. 1868, New York, United States
d. 1932, New York, United States
Alfred Henry Maurer was an American modernist painter, best known for his adaptation of a Fauvist aesthetic. Born in 1868, Maurer was the son of the German lithographer Louis Maurer. In 1884, he left school to work in his family’s lithographic firm, Maurer and Heppenheimer. From 1885 until 1897, Maurer attended the National Academy of Design in New York where he studied under Edgar Wardand William Merritt Chase. In 1897, Maurer left for Paris where he began his studies at the Académie Julian and joined a circle of American and French artists. During this period, he worked in a conventional style and often spent his time studying works in the Louvre.
Maurer gained attention in in 1901 when his Whistler-style painting, An Arrangement, received first prize at the Carnegie International Exhibition. He garnered considerable acclaim painting portraits in this style, but in 1904 transitioned to painting in a Cubist and Fauvist manner. While his deviation cost him his international reputation, Maurer gained esteem in avant-garde circles, showing his work at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery and the Armory Show of 1913. Abandoning realism for modernism, Maurer executed his paintings with expressive brushwork and in a striking new palette of saturated hues. Prioritizing saturated color instead of line or form in his works, Maurer evoked a distinctive psychological intensity through rippling, sweeping gestures.
Prompted by wartime hostilities abroad Maurer returned to the United States in 1914. He resettled in New York and participated in several important exhibitions, including the 1916 Forum Exhibition held at Anderson Galleries. He exhibited regularly with the New York based Society of Independent Artists and was elected a director of this organization in 1919. In 1924 the New York dealer Erhard Weyhe bought the contents of Maurer's studio. He represented the artist for the remainder of his career. Today, Maurer’s works are included in the collections of the Barnes Foundation, Pennsylvania; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., among others.