Max Maynard

Max Maynard

Max Maynard was born in India of missionary parents and came to Victoria in 1912.

In 1927, he met a fellow spirit in Jack Shadbolt, who also taught art in an elementary school. Neither of them had any formal art training, but they had both become devotees of the Group of Seven and became frequent visitors to Emily Carr’s studio.  Maynard had exhibited four times with the Island Arts and Crafts Society, serving as its vice-president in 1932; Shadbolt had never exhibited anywhere before.

As members of this largely conservative body, the pair allied with Emily Carr and Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher in promoting the modernist cause by organizing the “Modern Room” as a section of the Society’s 1932 exhibition. The reception to this event was somewhat disappointing, but gave Maynard self-confidence to expand his work from sketches and lino cuts to oils on a larger format.

He remained in Victoria until 1938, when he moved temporarily to California.

As a landscape painter Maynard stated that he had always been strangely moved by nature and, like Shadbolt, he set out to communicate the colour and inner meaning of a visual experience rather than describe the literal facts. 

Although highly skilled in drawing, particularly the human figure, he is perhaps best known for his abstracted landscapes with their brilliant colours, usually based on numerous sketches from his ramblings.  Maynard painted actively for over 50 years, and exhibited widely in both Canada and the USA.His career included a stint as Interim Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery in the 1940s and an extensive and distinguished career as a professor at the University of New Hampshire teaching English Literature.

He returned for his final years to Victoria in 1978, and passed away in 1982.

Group Photograph of the "Modern School", showing Max Maynard, rear right
Royal Museum of British Columbia Archives. F-04111

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