Who was the painter Alfred Manessier?

Alfred Manessier was a French non-figurative painter. Originally from the Baie de Somme estuary, Manessier was very inspired by the landscapes of his childhood. Many of the French painter’s works on canvas are devoted to the river’s meandering twists and turns.

Alfred Manessier was born into a family of craftsmen on 5 December 1911 in Saint-Ouen—a town in the Baie de Somme estuary—and spent his childhood on the banks of the Somme. During his studies, Manessier’s godfather, the journalist Émile Buré, gave him a biography of Rembrandt. Manessier considered the Dutch painter to be his spiritual father and role model as a painter. From then on, he was deeply convinced of the undeniable “call” he felt to be a painter. Alongside his studies, Manessier regularly visited the Musée du Louvre to copy the works of Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Renoir and, above all, Rembrandt. The French painter was then chosen among seven artists to represent France at the 25th Venice Biennale in 1950. Concerned with the renovation and protection of the stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral, the painter Alfred Manessier, together with Jean Bazaine, founded the Association for the Protection of Stained Glass in France (Association pour la Défense des Vitraux de France or A.D.V.F.) in 1976. The film director Gérard Raynal shot the film Les offres d’Alfred Manessier in Emancé, Abbeville and the Baie de Somme. One of the artist’s most masterful works is Painted the Spaces of the Sea —a depiction of the Baie de Somme estuary in three monumental variations that concluded the artist’s retrospective at the Galeries Nationales at the Grand Palais in Paris from October 1992 to January 1993.

To learn more about the French painter Alfred Manessier’s life and works, you can visit the artist’s dedicated page.

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