Maurice Del Mue Biography

Maurice Del Mue




Painter, illustrator, muralist, and graphic designer Maurice Del Mué was born in Paris, France, in 1875 to Swiss parents. His father, Santino del Mue, emigrated to California to work as a silver minor, and his mother, Ava, soon followed with five-year-old Maurice in tow. They settled in San Francisco and Maurice enrolled at the California School of Design while still a teenager. He also studied with the San Francsico Art Association and after graduation he spent a year in France, studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

On his return to the U.S. he began exhibiting throughout the Bay Area as an easel painter. He helped found the California Society of Artists in 1902, a response to the conservative San Francisco Art Association, and gained acclaim for his work from noted San Francisco art critics Laura Bride Powers and Elise Grauper in the mid 1910s.

In the 1920s Mué worked for the San Francisco Call and, later, the San Francisco Chronicle as a staff artist, continuing his painting during off hours in the apartment he shared with artist Maynard Dixon. During the Depression he was hired by the WPA's Federal Art Project to design and paint murals for various institutions in Marin County, just north of the city: Mount Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley; the College of Marin, Kentfield; and in the officers' lounge at the Hamilton Army Airfield in Novato. Around this time he was hired by Foster & Kleiser outdoor advertising company, specializing in commerical imagery for travel and tourism. He remained with the company until 1941, when he opened his own studio in Forest Knolls, also in Marin County.

Mué exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, and at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915 where he won a silver medal in painting, and he was a member of the Society of Marin Artists and the Bohemian Club. He lived and worked in Forest Knolls until his death on January 24, 1955. HIs work is held in the Oakland Museum, CA; and the De Young Museum, San Francisco.

Selected exhibitions:

Golden Gate International Exhibition, San Francisco, 1939; San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935; California State Fair, 1934; Pan Pacific International Exhibition, San Francsico, 1915; Del Monte Art Gallery, Monterey, CA, 1907 - 1912; Mark Hopkins Institute, San Francisco, 1906; Hotel Oakland, CA (date not listed); Royal Academy, London (date not listed); San Francisco Artists Association (various); Bohemian Club (various).