Sumner, Maud (1902 – 1985)

Maud Sumner is considered to be one of the most international of South Africa’s artists, due to her
experience of French, English and South African life. She was a highly gifted and sensitive artist.
Sumner graduated from Roedean School in Johannesurg, but later moved to London. There she studied
Literature at Oxford between 1922 – 1925. She later studied painting at Westminster School of Arts.

Attracted to the French Art Scene she decided to move to Paris in 1926. There she studied for four years
at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, and returned on several occasions to further her art training
and work at the Ateliers d’Art Sacré. Her first solo exhibition was held at Galerie Druet in Paris in 1932.

After stints in Spain and England she finally returned to South Africa in 1941. Her works were not
focused on the landscape of her native country but more on interiors, still life’s, and the human figure.
Sumner stayed in South Africa until 1949, where she held at least 16 solo exhibitions between 1941 –
1945.

On returning to France, Sumner changed her style considerably and also began to produce more
experimental works. She divided most of her time between London, Paris and Johannesburg. It was
towards the end of her career that the vast spaces and intense colour of South Africa began to influence
her art. In the 1960’s she started travelling the Namib Desert, here she produced some of her finest
works.

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