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Jan Mankes (1889-1920)

Set of two: Study of the front of a horse & Study of the back of a horse

Pencil on paper

23.5 x 23.5 cm

Framed: 45 x 45 cm


Both works are included in the catalogue raisonné by Alied Ottevanger and are registered with the RKD.


Spring Auction House Methusalem 2010, lot no. 849;

Private collection, Friesland.


Alied Ottevanger, Jan Mankes, 1889-1920 (Oeuvre catalogue) - TE180 & TE181, page 122.


The drawings are in good condition, slight vertical fold in Study of the back of a horse.


"That summer (1917) he made many studies of horses, which had to stand still for a while near our house at 't Dierensche kanaal, until the paper was loaded from their carts onto the barge, during which time Jan had the opportunity to draw them. The carters who did not know him, chatted with him at first as with a comrade. One day he came home disappointed; they had started to call him 'mijnheer Mankes' and took off their hats for him!"

Quote from: Annie Mankes Zernike, Jan Mankes (J.A.A.M. van Es, 1923), page 36.

Jan Mankes found his inspiration close to home. One of those places was the Dierensche kanaal, where he found his suitable horse models. Mankes seized these moments to make detailed studies of these majestic animals. The two drawings bear witness to this practice, which was recorded by his wife Annie Mankes Zernike after his death. The drawings have an artistic relationship with the print Horse, standing to the left (1917).

Jan Mankes (1889-1920) was a Dutch artist known for his landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Born in Meppel, he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. It has been his personal view of nature and its fragile representation in his works that has earned him the nickname 'Holland's most tranquil painter' today.

Mankes had a personal view of nature. He had a great love for animals and plants and was fascinated by their small details and variability. This was reflected in his works, where he often depicted nature in an intimate and poetic way.

He often used bright and vivid colors in his works, applied with thin brushstrokes. This created a sense of transparency in his paintings. His later works are dreamier and darker in color. He often depicted flowers and plants that were decaying or on the verge of wilting, and made studies of dead birds. This gives his works a melancholic atmosphere and portrays the life cycle of nature.

These prints are a beautiful example of Mankes' poetic style. In them, he often depicts animals in their original habitat, or the withering of flowers in an Autumn Garden. The prints are still highly valued and respected in the art world for their aesthetic value and their contribution to Dutch art history.

Mankes died prematurely at the age of 30 from tuberculosis. Despite his early death, his work is still admired by art lovers to this day. Occasionally, a drawing or oil painting becomes available on the market. The majority of his painted and drawn oeuvre is housed in Dutch museums, including the Rijksmuseum, Museum Belvedere, Museum More, Museum Arnhem, and Museum Mohlmann.

Jan Mankes - Two studies of a horse

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