The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Alexander Mann, 1853-1908

Nationality: Scottish
Date of Birth: 1853.01.22
Place of Birth: Glasgow
Date of Death: 1908.01.26
Place of Death: London


Alexander Mann was a landscape and genre painter. He was the second son of the merchant and collector James Mann and the father of the watercolour painter Mary Gow Mann.


Mann studied at Glasgow School of Art and in Paris at the Académie Julian, as well as under Mihály Munkácsy and Carolus-Duran. His work was influenced by the Hague school and by Jules Bastien-Lepage. He painted views and rural genre scenes located in the Downs, Walberswick, Angus and Fife. He had a studio in London and was a neighbour of JW in Chelsea.

From 1883-93 Mann exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Royal Insitute of Oil Painters, Fine Art Society, New Gallery, Ridley Art Club, New English Art Club and Society of British Artists, a society that appointed JW its President in 1886. Similar to JW, Mann also maintained contacts in Paris throughout his career and exhibited at the Salon. Like JW he worked in Venice in the early 1880s. His Bead-Stringer, Venice was a success at the 1884 Salon. It provoked controversy however when it was exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.

In 1886 Mann joined the New English Art Club, a group with which JW exhibited at their inaugural exhibition in 1888. He was friendly with John Lavery and the Glasgow Boys. In 1889 he was among those included in the preliminary preparations for a meal to be held at the Criterion on 1 May in celebration of JW's honorary membership of the Royal Academy in Munich. At this time he was living at Kings Holme, Hagbourne, near Didcot (#00631). From 1890 to 1892 he was in Tangiers. He then settled in London. In 1893 he was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.


Garstin, N., 'Obituary', Studio, vol. 46, 1909, pp. 300-5; Caw, J., Scottish Painting Past and Present, 1620-1908, Edinburgh, 1908, pp. 384-85; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1880; Newall, Christopher, Alexander Mann, 1853-1908, London, 1983; Hopkinson, Martin, Alexander Mann: Sketches and Correspondence with his Wife and Family, London, 1985; Pickthorn, Helen, 'Alexander Mann', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 1 December 2003).