La Malle au Port a Ostende
Belgian, 1915 - 2013
Oil on canvas, signed
24 x 32 in.
Born Mary Elisabeth Maud Gerard in Sydenham, England in 1915 this woman of extraordinary talent would spend the vast majority of her life in Belgium. In 1931, at the age of sixteen, she enrolled at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels where she excelled as a student winning numerous awards and prizes. Graduating in 1935 she was immediately sought out by the great Belgian painter Anto Carte who, recognizing her talents, offered her a position as an assistant in his Brussels atelier. She would remain with Carte for barely two years although the influence of the great man on her subsequent work would last a lifetime. In the 1930’s she concentrated on fantasy themed works, with an Art Deco flavor, highly decorative and frequently on a very large scale. Winning the Prix de Rome in 1941 gave her the financial means to attend the Academia Belgica in Rome but it appears this sojourn was cut short by the war. Returning to Brussels she recommenced painting and achieved both critical and public success. The works shown at her 1948 exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels showed her to be leaning towards a Modernist approach, her paintings having taken on a more angular form. The mid 1950’s saw her living for a time in Paris and, perhaps as a result of this, her work became more Impressionist in flavor. It is these paintings of port and beach scenes, painted in a misty, almost ethereal, manner that are most frequently associated with Gerard’s oeuvre.
Maud Gerard died in Brussels in 2013 after which the remaining works in her studio were dispersed. Much of this work consisted of rudimentary sketches in oil, watercolor and gouache as well as a huge number of minor compositions. Amongst her works however were a number of finished and beautifully rendered compositions and it is these that we are happy to offer to our clients.