G. MAURICE CLOUD
"MONTMARTRE, LE SOIR"
CHARCOAL AND PASTEL ON PAPER, SIGNED
FRANCE, DATED 1947
24.5 X 19 INCHES
Georges Maurice Cloud
Georges Maurice Cloudwas a French mid-20th-century artist, born in Escoublac, Brittany, France.
A Modernist Cubist painter, he worked also in architecture and furniture design throughout the thirties. He did his schooling in Escoublac and La Baule, and attended the Municipal Art School. In the late twenties, Cloud enrolled in the Beaux-Arts Academy in Paris, working part-time for architects as an intern and a draughtsman. Active as an artist his whole life, he also worked free-lance for architects and designed furniture and interiors for private homes.
In the thirties and early forties, he was commissioned to paint frescoes for private residences as well as commercial buildings (restaurants, bars and cabarets), including the "La Baule Casino" and the well-known Hotel de l’Hermitage. He also painted frescoes on ocean liners l’Ile de France, Le Paris, Le Liberté, the De Grasse, etc. and created billboards for movie theaters in Nantes, St Nazaire and La Baule.
After serving during WW2, he returned to his native La Baule and worked in the family business with his father. A few years later, he started his own company as an interior decorator, covering the La Baule, Saint Nazaire and Southern Brittany region.
Although he only moved to Paris in the mid-fifties, Cloud succeeded in remaining involved in the Parisian art world as a member of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1939, then in the Surindépendant Movement from 1940 until 1957. This entailed his participation in the movement's exhibitions and group shows, where he showed paintings and drawings in every "Salon". As such, he received much attention from the press and was regularly written about in both the Parisian and the local Britton press. In 1949, the Galerie Breteau in Paris gave him a solo show that was well received in Paris’ art world. The Galerie Harmonies in Saint Nazaire exhibited his "Papiers Découpés", à la Matisse, in 1955.
Cloud and his family moved to Paris in 1956. There he worked as a free-lance decorator and continued more than ever to paint and create his artwork, inspired by Paris’ intensely active artistic life.
In the 1960s, he was project manager as well as the head designer for the advertising and graphics department of a major paint company, "Le Saint". Maurice Cloud pursued his artistic interests from the 1920s throughout his life and until his accidental death in 1973. He closely followed art events and the flow of the ever-changing currents of modern art and participated in numerous exhibitions.
Although there is no trace in writing on his interests nor his favorite painters, Cloud was evidently drawn from the 1940s on to work in a Cubist vein, owing a debt to Picasso (his favorite by far according to his son) as well as other Cubists, probably the Puteaux Group of Jacques Villon and friends. One of its members, André Lhote wrote important treatises on landscape painting (1939) and figure painting (1950). The early work in the late twenties and thirties is still highly figurative, Art Deco and illustrative in spirit. After the war, subject matter and style become more abstracted, yet the classic distinction still appears between landscape and portraiture pieces. Many ink drawings dating from the late forties to early fifties, some with powerful highlights in white paint, show his interest in the dynamic and almost autonomous power of line alone. Many collages, made of construction paper date probably from the same years, and show a strong interest in Matisse's contemporary papiers découpés, abstract cutouts in colored paper, that the celebrated artist executed in the mid-1940s. Fernand Léger was also one of his inspirations and he visited the Léger Museum in Biot, in Southern France in the 1950s. He also admired Kandinsky and the work and achievements of architect and artist Le Corbusier.
In 1962, the French Government commissioned him to create a 12x20 foot mosaic mural for a marketplace in Viry-Châtillon, near Paris. This mural is still partially in existence. Many gouache sketches were made as preparation for this piece.
Cloud's work was featured in the United States with a twenty-year retrospective at the Los Angeles Galleries of Burton Jay in 1965. His work has been shown and represented by galleries and private dealers around the country since 1996.