Henri Maik (1922-1993)
Henri Maik was born in Paris on March 27, 1922 the son of the illustrator and engraver, Joseph Hecht.
Maik designates himself as a Primitive painter, not a naïf painter. In many ways, the paintings of Henri Maik are paradoxical, at once familiar and strange, childlike and sophisticated, quiet and vocal with color. They are dreamscapes; their terrain lush with fields of simple flowers, exotic trees, rare birds and the beasts of the jungle. In a Maik painting, you enter a community of creatures, at rest and at play, dwelling in perfect harmony, who seem to look out at us, as if to suggest we might do as they are doing.
Multi-talented, Maik has designed tapestries woven in collaboration with Aubusson, created a collection of limited edition fine jewelry, and he is the author and illustrator of several popular children’s books.
In 1940, at the age of 18, Maik enlisted in the French Navy and served as a medical corpsman. Subsequently, he was captured and imprisoned in the Maritime Hospital in Brest. From 1942, when he was released, until the Liberation of France, he worked as a lumberman in Normandy. Following the Liberation, Maik returned to Paris and worked as an actor both in the theater and in French films. He began painting in 1956. The year 1960 marked a turning point in Maik’s career, for he had his first one-man show in Paris.
In 1964 Wally Findlay recognized his talent and hosted Maik’s premier United States exhibition in Palm Beach, Florida. This was to be the first of many successful exhibitions presented at Wally Findlay Galleries in New York, Chicago, Palm Beach, Beverly Hills and Paris.
The Musée de l’Art Moderne, Paris, featured Henri Maik’s paintings in 1966, 1967 and 1968 in an exhibition of sacred art. The Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris featured his canvases in 1966 and 1967. Maik’s work garnered critical acclaim in exhibitions at the Abbey of Salinsles-Bains (Jura) in 1965 and in 1966 at the Galerie Johnson, Usès (Gard). In 1968 he was honored with an exhibit at the Maison de la Culture d’Argenteuil.
Maik exhibited in the Salon d’Automne, the Salon de Bollène, the Centre National de la Tapissserie d’Aubusson, as well as the Salon of Swedish Art. His paintings are in the National Museum of Budapest, the Center of Contemporary and Experimental Art at Rebhoboth, Israel, the Musée d’Art Naif de I’lle-de-France at Vicq and the Musée de Colmar.