Maurice Morel (French, 1908-1991)
Maurice Constantine Eugene Morel was known for his creation of abstract expressionist 'sacred art'. Born in Ornans in the Eastern French region of Franche-Comte, Morel came to Paris in 1927 to pursue his double vocation of artist and priest. He found a mentor in artist-poet Max Jacob, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, who was a close friend of Pablo Picasso and other artistic-literary notables of the period. In 1933, Morel helped stage a ground-breaking sacred art exhibition, Art Moderne d’Inspiration Religieuse, which included works by Picasso, Andre Derain, Tsuguhara Foujita and Georges Rouault, who would become the priest's lifelong friend and supporter.
Morel was ordained in 1934 and joined Stained Glass Artist Jean Bazaine two years later in setting up an art studio within the surrealist art circles of the era. Decorated for his role in the French Resistance in World War II, Morel spent the post war years promoting modernist art both as an essay writer and public speaker.
From 1960 onwards, Morel devoted himself almost exclusively to making art. Morel is considered an instrumental figure for inspiring the Vatican's Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art which was inaugurated in 1973. Morel exhibited his work in Barcelona in 1954 and also at Roque Gallery in Paris in 1963. Morel died in Paris in 1991.