In Paris, Manson began full-time study at the famous Académie Julian, where Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard had trained, as well as fellow Fitzroy Street and Camden Town associates Robert Bevan and Stanislawa de Karlowska in the 1890s. Manson shared a rented studio space with the artists Charles Polowetski, Bernard Gussow and Jacob Epstein (fig.3).2 The impressionist painter Manson developed an unlikely friendship with the more radical sculptor Epstein, the pair exchanging many letters in the coming years (fig.4). In 1935 Manson was one of nine signatories, including Kenneth Clark and William Rothenstein, of a letter to the Times in protest against the proposed removal of Epstein’s sculptures from the British Medical Association building on the Strand (fig.5).3
James Bolivar Manson (26 June 1879 in London – 3 July 1945 in London) was an artist and worked at the Tate gallery for 25 years, including serving as its director from 1930 to 1938. In the Tate's own evaluation he was the "least successful" of their directors. His time there was frustrated by his stymied ambition as a painter and he declined into alcoholism, culminating in a drunken outburst at an official dinner in Paris. Although his art policies were more advanced than previously at the Tate and embraced Impressionism, he stopped short of accepting newer artistic movements like Surrealism and German Expressionism, thus earning the scorn of critics such as Douglas Cooper. He retired on the grounds of ill health and resumed his career as a flower painter until his death.