Maes studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels under Delville, Richir, Montald and Combaz first in the early 1920s then again a decade later. He came second in the Prix de Rome in 1930 and in 1935 he was commissioned to produce decorative panels for the Universal Exhibition in Brussels. He taught at the Academy of the fine arts of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode of which he was director, at the Royal Academy of fine arts Of Brussels and the School of Fine Arts of Lima. His early work was close to expressionism but his style evolved into intimism through a poetic realism, as such he was known as one of the fathers of animism. The Royal Academy of Belgium elected him first a correspondent and then in 1960, a full member. He has works in the museums of Brussels, Antwerp, Ixelles, Louvain, Ghent, Mons, La Louvière and Tournai.
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