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Although Maurice Sullins never set foot in France, his love of the country was profound. His connection to Paris and to the French countryside initially came from his mother, whose family origins were French. As an avid reader, Sullins traveled the world through books and he devoured countless stories in the journals and magazines he collected about France. He was proud of his French heritage and often used his mother's maiden name as well as his grandmother's name  - Le Grand and Le Sueur - when signing his paintings. 


Sullins' ability to create scenes inspired by French history, culture and landscape was astonishing. His work was, and continues to be regarded with reverence by collectors, cultural leaders and museum curators alike. His collaborations with French organizations include the Musée-Galerie de la Seita in Paris, who held a solo show for him during the centennial celebration of the Eiffel Tower in 1988, soon after he was discovered. In 2017, twenty-two years after Sullins' paintings were placed in storage following his death, Hana Pietri Gallery partnered with the French Consul General of Chicago to present his first exhibition since his passing in 1995. This year in 2022, the American Folk Art Museum in NYC included two paintings by Sullins in its exhibition Multitudes. Organized on the occasion of the Museum's 60th anniversary, Multitudes showcased some 400 stellar works revealing new connections between folk art and self-taught artists.

The paintings presented in this exhibition are set in brilliantly imagined scenes in France and often reference major French icons, historical figures, landscapes and cityscapes. The works also pay homage to select French masters, including Matisse, Dufy, Gauguin and Degas. While he never copied other artists, Sullins transformed and construed famous recognizable motifs into his own fresh and unique painterly language, believing his purpose was to continue their great work. 

For additional information, see here.

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