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Alfred Manessier

New School of Paris, Lyrical abstraction

(Saint-Ouen, 1911 - Orléans, 1993)

Alfred Manessier born December 5, 1911 in Saint-Ouen in the Somme, is a non-figurative French painter, considered as one of the masters of the New School of Paris.

Deeply impregnated from his childhood by the landscapes and light of the Baie de Somme, he devotes numerous canvases to meanders and reflections of the river, to the Picardy coast, to the ports of the North.

First strongly influenced by Rembrandt, one of his uncles offered him a biography, he is a studious student, appreciated by his teachers. But it is by copying the masters of the Louvre that never cease to amaze him that he discovers the importance of color and light. Little by little, his painting evolves towards construction and abstraction.

From 1947, stained glass occupied a large part of his work. He made a large number of them, at the request of the Dominicans of Les Bréseux first, then of the Dominicans of Saulchoir. But from the 1960s, stained glass and their conservation concern him enough that he created in 1964 "the Association for the Defense of Stained Glass in France" with a group of friends.

Even if he is well considered in places of worship and convents by his tapestries, paintings, stained glass, Manessier refuses the label of "religious painter", and from 1956, date of the Budapest Uprising, he realizes a large number of "politicized" canvases, related to the violence of the world: the Algerian War, the Puig Antich feud, the Vietnam War, the misery of the Favellas, or the struggle of the American blacks for their rights. These canvases bear the name of homage in particular to Martin Luther King, Le Père Dom Hélder Câmara or Passions.

Requested in the 1960s to create ballet or theater costumes, he tackled a large number of techniques, including a huge lithography, and he left behind a considerable work, which evolved after his travels: in the Flanders, Holland, Canada, in the south of France. His work has been crowned by several international awards.

On July 28, 1993, he suffered a road accident in the Loiret, and he died on August 1, 1993. He was buried in the cemetery of his native village.

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