Etienne Van Doorslaer grew up with three brothers and three sisters in a family of farmers and flower growers. Beginning in 1942, he spent seven years studying at the Decorative Arts Department of Sint-Lucasinstituut in Ghent where he drew, sketched, painted and studied architecture and sculpture.
He entered the Monastery of Sint Andries in Bruges in 1951, which is the motherhouse of St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo. As a monk he studied Philosophy and Theology in preparation for his ordination in 1958. Fr. Maur was sent to Paris in 1959 and studied pastoral work from 1960 to 1961. There he visited many galleries and exhibitions and kept track of the trends of the modern art world. He was especially interested in non-figurative art including Geometric Constructivism, the Lyrical Abstraction of the Ecole de Paris and Abstract Expressionism. He shared a kindred spirit and friendship with many modern artists including Alberto Magnelli, Dan van Severen (who was his classmate at Sint-Lucasinstituut and borrowed his studio for 10 months in 1965), Jef Boudens and Arno Brys.
The art of Jackson Pollock and Paul Klee stongly influenced his early works, as did the strict geometric order of August Herbin and Frank Stella and the dark monochromes of Ad Reinhardt.