Artist biography

Alfred Manessier born 1911 [- 1993]

French abstract painter, lithographer, and designer of tapestries and stained glass. Born at Saint-Ouen. Went to Paris in 1929 to study architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but also copied Old Masters in the Louvre and worked in the evenings in the academies of Montparnasse. In 1935 became a pupil of Bissière at the Académie Ranson. Painted in the 1930s in the Cubist-Surrealist tradition. Spent 1940-6 first in Benauge (Lot), then from 1942 at Le Bignon in Normandy. Contacts with the Trappists in 1943 led to a deep commitment to religion. His work became abstract by 1945, though he continued to draw inspiration from religious and landscape themes. Exhibited with Le Moal and Singier in 1944 and 1946; first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Billiet Caputo, Paris, 1949. Also active from 1947-8 as a designer of tapestries and of stained glass for churches; has occasionally designed for the theatre. Awarded First Prize at the 1955 Pittsburgh International and the main painting prize at the 1962 Venice Biennale. Lives in Paris and Emancé.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.474