Jan Mankes, Self-Portrait, 1911
Jan Mankes (1889-1920) was born in Meppel, Netherlands. At the age of fifteen he moved to Delft, where he worked as an apprentice painter in a glass factory from 1905 to 1908. He also attended evening courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. Mankes was so excited about the work of his fellow townsman, the etcher Derkzen van Angeren, that he himself chose to become a free artist. From 1909 he lived with his parents in a Heerenveen. Surrounded by chickens, geese and goats, he painted his silent masterpieces.
In 1915, he married Annie Zernike, the first female minister in the Netherlands. The following year, the pair settled in Eerbeek, Gelderland, hoping that this relocation would provide a healthier environment for Mankes, now suffering from tuberculosis. In the brief periods when Mankes was fine, he was constantly at work. In 1920, it became clear that Mankes would not recover. He died that same year.
Jan Mankes has been characterized as the most tranquil Dutch painter. His work with its clean, understated colors and balanced compositions shows his great love for nature. It includes approximately two hundred paintings, fifty prints, and more than hundred sketches and drawings. His work is exhibited in his native Netherlands in the Scheringa Museum of Realism, the Museum of Modern Art Arnhem and the Museum Belvédère Heerenveen. There is also an excellent webpage showing many of his works.
Jan Mankes, Haan, 1913