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Portraits and People
Most critics of early California Art recognize that Jean Mannheim was among the premier portrait artists in Southern California from his arrival there in 1908 and throughout the remainder of his active career. He had earlier established himself as a popular portrait artist in the Midwest towns of Mendota and Decatur, and was similarly recognized during his time in Denver where he completed a number of significant portraits including Anna Wolcott, the daughter of a U. S. senator and the Governor-elect Henry Buchtel in 1906. Later notable portraits included King Gillette, John Burroughs, William Wendt, and Albert Einstein.
California’s nearly 1000 miles of rugged and scenic coastline have been a favorite subject of many American artists and Jean Mannheim certainly was no exception. During the period from 1912 to 1919, he was an annual summer visitor to the Monterey Peninsula and painted the varied scenery of Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel. Later he would travel to Morro Bay, La Jolla, San Diego, and was a frequent visitor to Laguna Beach and Dana Point where he maintained a studio at Artch Beach and belonged to the Laguna Beach Art Association.
Around the Arroyo Seco
Mannheim’s most frequent subject was the rustic and scenic setting of the Arroyo Seco where he had built his studio and home in 1909. His portfolio of landscapes reflect the many moods of the natural landscape of western Pasadena and also reflected it’s changing character over the three decades that he actively painted around the Arroyo Seco. Beyond Pasadena, Mannheim, like many of his peers painted many other landscapes that captured the natural scenery of Southern California, as well as excursions throughout California, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon.
The California Desert
Beginning in 1919 and for most of next two decades, Jean Mannheim was a frequent visitor to and painter of the Coachella Valley and area around Palm Springs. He enjoyed the desert solitude and as he got older, he found the accessibility and warmth suited him well. His paintings from the desert vary from sculpted lines of purple mountain ridges, to rugged side canyons with lonely roads, to shifting sands and desert flora.
In Celebration of Childhood
An extension of his interest in portraiture, Mannheim greatly enjoyed the company of children, and portrayed them, including his two young daughters, on many occasions in paintings that speak to the magic and innocence of childhood. Many of these paintings were set out of doors and captured the sun-dappled subjects in the midst of play, the telling of fairy tales, or during quiet moments alone.
The Still Life
Considered one of the oldest genres within the study of art, Mannheim, like many artists, enjoyed painting floral bouquets and quiet studies of everyday objects throughout his career.