Paul Maze

Whitehall in Winter


Not on display

Paul Maze 1887–1979
Oil paint on canvas
Unconfirmed: 610 × 737 mm
Bequeathed by Mrs Jessie Rankin Maze, the artist's widow 2000, accessioned 2001


Paul Maze was an Anglo-French painter who painted English town and country scenes in a late Impressionist manner. Born at Le Havre of French parents, his father collected art and was a friend of various artists, including Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) and Georges Braque (1882-1963). At twelve Maze was sent to school in England to perfect his English, and afterwards worked for ten years in his father's firm importing India rubber and coffee in Liverpool and Hamburg. In the 1914-18 war he fought in a Scottish regiment and met and retained a friendship with Winston Churchill (1874-1965). After the war he lived in Paris, and was friendly with the painters André Derain (1880-1954) and André Dunoyer de Segonzac (1884-1974), although he also made visits to London. In 1921 Maze married a British wife, took British nationality and henceforth lived mainly in England. Here he was a representative of a tradition of French painting that was for a brief period admired as avant garde, notable for a thick application of paint and tonal colouring, with traditional subjects of landscape and still life. With his connections in British society, Maze enjoyed popularity as a half-English survivor of the school of Paris and, like Dufy, often painted race meetings, yachting scenes and the landscape of the southern English counties.

In Whitehall in Winter Maze shows the view from the edge of St James's Park in central London, looking over towards Whitehall. The building on the right is Horseguards, designed by William Kent (1685-1748), home of the household cavalry, while further to the left is the Admiralty. The Horseguards parade ground marks one of the centres of British establishment life, surrounded by Government buildings, and the place where every year the monarch receives the army's salute at the Trooping of the Colour ceremony. Maze's treatment of the heavy blanket of snow and its reflection of light may owe something to seeing the pictures of Camille Pissarro (1831-1903).

Further reading:
Anne Singer, Paul Maze: The Lost Impressionist, London, 1983

Robert Upstone
January 2002

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