French photographer Maurice Tabard was one of the leading artists of the Surrealist movement.
He was born in Lyon, France in 1897. His father was a silk industrialist, and his mother was an amateur musician. Tabard’s first artistic expression was as a pattern designer for silk textiles. In 1914, he and his father left Paris for New York City, where he studied photography at the New York Institute of Photography. He continued his studies through 1920 with photographer Emile Brunel.
Following the death of his father in 1922, Tabard became a professional portrait photographer for Backrach Studio in Baltimore. He went on to photograph notable homes and high-profile individuals, including Calvin Coolidge and his family.
In 1928, Tabard returned to Paris to become a fashion photographer. It was there he met Surrealist writer Philippe Soupault, who in turn acquainted him with various prominent magazine editors including Lucien Vogel, Giron, and Alexey Brodovitch. He went on to work for a number of publications, such as Bifur, Vu, and Le Jardin des Modes. As Tabard’s work developed, he soon met Surrealists Man Ray and René Magritte. In the late 1920s, he also met Roger Parry, to whom he taught photography, and André Kertész.