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Manson, J. B.

    Full Name: Manson, J. B.

    Other Names:

    • James Bolivar Manson

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1879

    Date Died: 1945

    Place Born: London, Greater London, England, UK

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): Modern (style or period)

    Career(s): administrators and painters (artists)


    Tate Gallery administrator and painter. After a brief career in a bank, Manson took art lessons at Heatherley’s School and then the Académie Julian in Paris (1903-04). Friendships with Lucien Pissaro and Walter Sickert in 1910, he became secretary of various artists societies, including the Camden Town Group, later the London Group. He was appointed curator of the Tate Gallery, London, in 1912 and director in 1930. Deeply conservative, he worked assiduously to prevent works by artists such as Matisse and Rouault from becoming part of the Tate’s holdings. He remained an artist during this time, although he published brief monographs on various artists of which he approved, including Sargent and Degas. Manson’s growing alcoholism resulted in increasingly embarrassing behavior. When a particularly embarrassing incident in front of bureaucrats at a Paris banquet (he crowed like a rooster) occurred, he was forced to resign in 1938. His successor was the nearly equally conservative John Rothenstein.


    Clark, Kenneth. Another Part of the Wood: a Selfportrait. London: Murray, 1974, pp. ; Richardson, John. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: a Decade of Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper. New York: Knopf, 1999, p. 24,158; Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art: 374.


    "Manson, J. B.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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