The Francis Files
Art Hearts: Henri Maik
October 6, 2022 - Written by Kevin O'Gara
(Design by John Oetgen, photography by Kevin O'Gara)
Last month, my grandmother's home in Ponte Vedra beach was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. It's an incredible house, designed by John Oetgen, that I have so many childhood memories in from visiting each summer. The house was originally built to house all of the grandchildren, and we've had many family reunions and Thanksgiving here with my dad's side of the family. After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother refreshed the decor with John (one of her oldest friends), livening the rooms with joyful colors to help usher in a new chapter of her life. Seeing the house in print reminded me of one of my favorite paintings, hanging in the living room, which didn't make it into the story. I wanted to share more about this lesser-known French artist, Henri Maik, who painted the playful panthers in the colorful jungle above. See more of Henri's happy, colorful work and learn more about his background below.
Maik designated himself as part of the Primitive art movement, and his simple, graphic style often lacks perspective but is full of depth. His paintings feature layers of exotic trees and flowers, intermingled with colorful birds and friendly-looking felines, often staring directly at the viewer. His work made its debut in the United States in the 1960's, lead by the recognition of his word by Wally Findlay, who hosted exhibitions for him in his galleries from Palm Beach to Beverly Hills.
Maik went on to collaborate with Aubusson on a collection of woven tapestries, and created a number of popular children's books featuring his tropical illustrations. His sunny artwork reminds me of my Mamluk blue and yellow rug, which would pair so perfectly with one of his paintings!
You can find a few of his pieces for sale on Artnet, although they are never many available!