An established California plein-air painter in the Impressionist style, Maurice Braun painted landscapes reflecting moods of nature and his skill of showing the varying effects of light put San Diego into the national art scene.
He was born in Nagy Bittse, Hungary, and immigrated to New York City in 1881 when he was four years old. He showed early art talent and interest and as a youngster, copying works of art at the Metropolitan Museum. From 1897 to 1902, he studied at the Academy of Design and then for one year with William Merritt Chase at the Chase School, which became the New York School. In 1902, he went to Europe, painting in Austria, Germany, and Hungary.
He became a noted portrait and figure painter in New York but felt confined by subject matter. Then in 1910, attracted to the California landscape as a subject for his painting, he moved to San Diego and from his studio on Point Loma painted the French Impressionist influenced landscapes for which he became known.
He was initially drawn to California because of an active Theosophical Society of which he had been a member since college and which espoused the merging of truths common to all religions. A special part of that religion was light as metaphor, a technique that he perfected in his painting.
In 1912, he founded the San Diego Academy of Art and was its director for many years, although he returned to the East in 1921 and established studios in New York City, Silvermine, and Old Lyme, Connecticut. Several years later he returned to San Diego but from 1924 to 1929, continued to spend part of each year in the East.
In 1929, he became one of the founders of the Contemporary Artists of San Diego, and he was also active in art circles in San Francisco and Los Angeles and exhibited with the California Art Club. He traveled and painted in the Southwest including the Grand Canyon.
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art