Maud Hunt Squire (1873-1954) was a painter, printmaker and book illustrator who first gained an international reputation for her color intaglio prints and vivid pastel drawings. She later achieved recognition for her spectacular Provincetown prints, the one block color prints she made during the teens and 1920s.
Mary Ryan Gallery held a ground-breaking exhibition of the art of Squire and Mars in 2000 and published “Tres Complementaires: The Art and Lives of Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire” with an essay by Catherine Ryan. More than 50 of their prints were bought by museums from this exhibition. In 2005 the gallery included Squire’s work in the exhibition, “The French Connection: The Art of Ada Gilmore, Edna Boies Hopkins, Blanche Lazzell, Ethel Mars, Mildred McMillen and Maud Hunt Squire.” Mary Ryan Gallery has been a pioneer in exhibiting the prints and publishing monographs on these modern American women artists as well as in selling their artwork to museums and private collectors. Squire made very few woodcuts.
Squire was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She enrolled at the Cincinnati Art Academy when she was 21 for the equivalent of a graduate school education in art. There she met Hopkins and Mars and studied with L.H. Meakin and Frank Duveneck. While still in school, both Squire and Mars were published children’s book illustrators. Squire continued to illustrate books professionally and often traveled back and forth from France to New York to meet with publishers. In 1906, Squire settled in Paris with Mars, her lifetime companion. By 1907, she was successfully selling and exhibiting works in important exhibitions in Paris and America.
Squire along with Mars, was part of Gertrude Stein’s circle and was present the evening in 1907 that Alice B. Toklas met Matisse for the first time. In 1907 Gertrude Stein immortalized Mars and Squire in her early word portrait, Miss Furr and Miss Skeene (1908-11).
Squire left Paris with Mars at the outset of WWI and settled in Provincetown, MA in 1915. There, she made her first woodblock prints. Their extraordinarily modulated colors were influenced by Squire’s extensive experience in color intaglio. Many of Squire’s ‘white line’ Provincetown woodblock prints actually incorporate a filled in black line. Squire, along with Mars, Blanche Lazzell, B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Ada Gilmore and Mildred McMillen and were part of the original group of artists known for their white line woodcuts, called Provincetown prints.
After WWI, Squire and Mars, settled in Vence in southern France. They were both active in an artists colony that included Marsden Hartley and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Squire resumed painting and drawing, producing large watercolors and landscape paintings, some of café scenes in French Riviera seaport towns.
Squire stopped all artistic work after the early 1930s. During WWII, Mars and Squire went into hiding near Grenoble, France. Squire died at their home, La Farigoule, in Vence in 1954.
Squire’s woodcuts were included in the exhibition and accompanying catalog, “From Paris to Provincetown: Blanche Lazzell and the Color Woodcut” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, curated by Barbara Stern Shapiro. The exhibition traveled to the Cleveland Museum of Art.