Herman Maril: An Artist's Two Worlds
Catalogue for the 2008 PAAM exhibition.
Herman Maril was born in Baltimore in 1908 and began painting as a teenager. He was active in New York as a young man in the 1930s, participating in the New York avant-garde scene. After World War II, Maril painted primarily in Baltimore and Cape Cod. The year 1934 was pivotal for Maril—that summer he visited Cape Cod and was entranced by the sand dunes, expansive skies and quaint fishing boats. In time, he and his wife purchased a derelict post office in Provincetown where they would spend summers. Every autumn, Maril returned to Baltimore.
Maril’s work addresses universal themes in both style and subject. A contemplative artist balancing intellect with intuition, he recreated on canvas what he saw, eliminating all but the barest essentials. During much of his career, he used dark tones, even blacks, applied in blotches or single strokes, to define forms and create patterns on his otherwise colorful canvases. In many of his mature works, his compositions at first glance seem to have been reduced to fields of juxtaposed colors. He preferred an extremely limited palette and relied on the interactions of colors to convey his intentions.