Jan Mankes from the Netherlands (1889 - 1920)
During his life he was called the “most delicate of all dutch painters.”
1905: At age 15, Mankes served as an apprentice for creating stained glass windows. During this time he also took evening classes at The Hague where he learned to draw from plaster models.
1908: At 19 years old, working in a factory for stained glass windows no longer satisfied him, so he chose to become a free artist instead.
(Picture of parent’s home-
Since he lived in the countryside, he often enjoyed painting natural landscapes and animals. Interestingly, what first inspired him were all the dead animals he found around his home. It was easy for him to make studies out of dead, motionless animals. And it’s not too strange of an idea either when a large part in the history of human anatomy, students studied the human figure through studying and dissecting cadavers.
Aside from landscapes and animals, Mankes also painted still-lifes and people. However, he tended to paint people in their moments of solitude, doing something quiet (e.g. paintings of a boy reading in the dim corner of his room and a woman knitting on a bench of an empty alley.)
His paintings are said to be characterized by an immense stillness and silence. People asked him why he didn’t incorporate more motion into his paintings, and Mankes simply said that it did not suit him. Stillness dances and silence sings.
What appealed to me most when I first saw his paintings were the colors. Maybe working as a stained glass artist influenced him in his sensitivity to color choices.)
1913 - At 24, he met Anne Zernike, the first female minister in the Netherlands. They got married two years later.
1920 - Only five years after the marriage, Mankes died from Tuberculosis, leaving Anne as a widow until she died at age 85.
(Since Mankes had such love for the natural world, he had wanted to built an aquarium and paint marine life in the days of his waning health. He never was able to.
A little over a decade, Mankes produced approximately 200 paintings, 50 prints, and over 100 sketches and drawings. He drew with pencils and charcoals, painted in oil, and also did woodcutting and engraving.)
"Painting is not an image display of material things, but it is a psychological function: one expressing how his mind responds to the things. That is quite a difference; with paint, the beauty of things show ."
Pierre Bonnard in his studio, and a detail of his palette.
Le Cannet, France 1945
Four photographs of Monet in his Studio at Giverny by Henri Manuel