Max Papart Biography

Max Papart




Printmaker and painter Max Papart's work is suffused with sunny humor and the bright colors of the French Riviera where he was born. Working in a semi-Cubist style, later influenced by the Pop Art movement, he frequently depicted circus scenes, flirting couples, soaring birds and similar cheerful subjects with flat, overlapping planes of contrasting colors and textures.

Max Papart is considered a master printmaker. Born in Marseille, France on December 19, 1911, his early interest in drawing and other visual arts was unsuccessfully discouraged by his parents, who hoped he would become a chicken farmer. Their efforts spurred him instead to move to Paris where, in 1933, he first learned engraving techniques at L'Ecole du Louvre. The following year he participated in his first major exhibition at the Salon des Independants, soon followed by participation at the Salon de Mai and the Salon des Comparaisons. During the Second World War he returned to Marsailles, studying at the Auzias Academy while discreetly working with the French Resistance.

He returned to Paris in 1950 with a reputation as a respected experimental artist preceeding him. His work became less representational as Abstract Expressionism rose in popularity around the world, and he found inspiration in the symbolism of Aztec and Aegean cultures. In 1960, he was introduced to the carborundum technique, invented by his friend Henri Goetz. This would become one of his preferred methods, adding a richness of tone to the plate. Through the 1960s and 1970s he exhibited internationally, including in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, and Mexico. 

In following years Papart taught printmaking at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes. He continued making his own plates and supervising the hand printing of his prints until his death
 in Paris on August 29, 1995. His work is included in private and public collections throughout the world.

Selected Exhibitions:
1948: Prix de l'Union Mediterraneenne pour l'Art Moderne
1949: Laureat Prix Hallmark
1950: Prix de la Critique; Prix de la Jeune Peintre Paris
1951: Laureat de la Biennale de Peinture, Menton
1971: Musee Saint-Ouen (retrospective)