Maufra first began painting when he turned eighteen years. He was encouraged to do so by two artists from Nantes: brothers Leduc. He did not fully embrace his painting career immediately as he was at this time a businessman; therefore he only painted in his spare moments from 1884 to 1890. It was then that Maufra discovered the Impressionists and was able to display his works at the Paris Salon of 1886. He devoted himself to painting from nature and his favoured spot was along the banks of the Loire valley.

He left Nantes for Brittany, where he met Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Paul Serusier (1864-1927). Maufra had his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1894, at Le Barc de Toutteville. Returning from Brittany, he was the first painter to take up residence in the Bateau-Lavoir, a famous Parisian residence for artists.

Notably, Maufra remained an independent artist throughout his life, being influenced by others but always being wholly original in his output, dedicating his oeuvre to recording nature. In his works, he sometimes quoted the pointillist technique of Pissarro or Sisley, whilst he also portrayed the strong colours and powerful drawing of the Pont-Aven school.