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Herman Maril (1908 – 1986)

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

16. Bather, 1932

Oil on canvas, 8 1/8 x 10 inches (unframed), 11 ½ x 13 ½ inches (framed), signed and dated lower right, inscribed “Bather” and “Herman Maril” verso


About the Artist

Herman Maril was born in 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland, and studied at the Maryland Institute (College) of Fine Arts. He is best known as a painter, printmaker, and art instructor. Like many artists, Maril struggled financially during the Great Depression before he was accepted into the easel section of the Public Works of Art Project as a “class A artist” in December 1933. One of Maril’s PWAP paintings was selected for exhibition at the Corcoran and the Museum of Modern Art and is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 1934 and 1935, Edward Rowan, Olin Dows, and Duncan Phillips began to promote Maril's work. Phillips ultimately acquired over a dozen works by Maril which are still in the venerable institution he founded in Washington, D.C. During the 1930s, Maril typically summered in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He received two post office commissions from the Treasury Department’s Section of Fine Arts, one in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and one in Alta Vista, Virginia. After serving in the military during World War II, Maril was an art instructor, mainly at the University of Maryland, where he was a department head and a permanent gallery in his honor was founded. Maril was elected to the National Academy of Design later in life. During his long career, his works were exhibited widely across the country. Maril’s modernist paintings often reduced and simplified his surroundings. Maril is listed in Who Was Who in American Art and all other standard references.


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