Alfred Manessier

Alfred Manessier

Manessier was born among fishers and masons in the Picardy province of Northern France. He was enrolled in architecture in 1929, switched to art with Roger Bissiere at Academie Ranson in 1935 just before to the father’s death in 1936. In 1939 Manessier was called into military conscription, as a technical draftsman. In 1940, expecting the birth of his son, he found work as a farmhand to support the growing family but by 1941 he returned to Paris to exhibit in the Gallery Braun show “20 Young Painters” that ushered into France the non-figurative movement. Despite the abstract style focused in what the occupying Germans deemed “degenerate” modes and despite his teaching at the anti-authority and anti-indoctrination organization Young France, the painter was not censored or molested. Manessier left the teaching activity in 1943 because he wanted to dedicate full time to painting. During this year he made a 3-day visit to the Trappist monastery in Orne. Demoralized by the occupation and war, at the monastery he was deeply moved by the ancient garb and art, chants and worship, rhythms of work and silence by the monks. Thus the fertile period of abstract painting began. In 1947 he was commissioned to produce two stained glass windows for a Breseux church. In 1949 he produced a tapestry for the Dominicans of Saulchoir, Seine-et-Oise. He was victim of a car accident in Loiret on 28th July 1993 and died four days later at the Source hospital in Orléans.