Maxime-Émile-Louis Maufra was born in Nantes on 17 May 1861. He completed his schooling at the secondary school in his native city, where he also took drawing classes. Two local painters, Charles Lebourg and Charles Le Roux, were his first mentors. Throughout his career, Maufra focused on the subjects he had studied in his youth, such as the sea, harbours, ships and the countryside.
At the age of twenty he travelled to England, where he was able to study the work of the English landscape painters such as Turner and Constable, who left a deep impression on him. In 1886, Maufra participated in the Salon, showing two paintings. However, he later became more closely associated with the Salon des Indépendants. During the following decade, he completely gave up his involvement in the family business and moved to Brittany. In Pont-Aven, where he stayed for six months, he met Gauguin. Maura has been considered a member of the Pont-Aven School, along with Émile Bernard, Gustave Loiseau and Henry Moret, among others. In 1894, 1896, 1897 and 1901 he participated in a number of exhibitions, the first of which was a monographic show of his work at Le Barc de Bouteville, and later at the Durand-Ruel Gallery. Maufra's paintings usually depict seascapes and cliffs in Brittany and Normandy. He also visited the region of Dauphiné and the surroundings of Le Havre, Douarnenez and Locronan. Maufra is considered a follower of the Impressionists, and shared their preference for light and clarity, but his work nevertheless differs in its more solid handling. He died on 23 May 1918 in Poncé.