Maurice Cullen was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1866 and moved with his family to Montreal in 1870, he took art classes at the Monument National.
By 1888, Cullen was in Paris, studied painting at the École des beaux-arts and the Académie Julian until 1892.
Cullen was strongly influenced by the work of the French Impressionists, while in Paris met fellow Canadian Impressionist James Wilson Morrice. After exhibiting at the Paris Salon in 1894 and becoming an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Cullen returned to Montréal in 1895. He would continue to visit Paris throughout his life.
Upon his return to Canada Cullen passed on his knowledge gained in Paris having a tremmendous influence on the rising popularity of impressionism in Canada. His own work was completed en plein air in the Québec countrysides in locations such as Beaupré and Baie-Saint-Paul. He also creating magnificant city scenes of Montréal and Québec City.
From 1918 to 1920, he was commissioned as an official war artist, his works are now part of the collection at The Canadian War Museum.
After 1923, Cullen’s subject matter shifted to the Laurentians. He built a cabin at Lac Tremblant on the Cache River in the early 1920's and made many sketching trips. He especially loved depicting winter scenes.
In 1892 Cullen began to exhibit regularly with the Royal Canadian Academy, and in 1907 he was honoured as an associate.
In 1905 Cullen has his first of many shows with the Art Association of Montréal. He also exhibited with Watson Art Galleries in Montréal in 1908. Following these years he gained wider popularity and was recognized as a leading Canadian Impressionist.
Cullen passed away in 1934.