Supporting himself with his skills as a bookbinder, German-born painter Jean Mannheim would eventually be known for his brilliant and boldly colored landscapes of the Southern California region where he spent the later part of his life.
Born in Germany in 1863 he left for Paris rather than serve in the Army. He worked as a bookbinder while he attended classes at the Academie Colarossi and the Ecole Delacluse. He studied under Bouguereau and DeLancey before deciding to immigrate to the United States.
He arrived in Chicago in the 1880s and worked as a portrait painter before heading to Decatur, Illinois to teach art classes. He was offered a position at Frank Brangwyn's school in London, and he headed to England for two years. He again returned to the United States in 1905 where he taught at the Denver Art School for the next three years. He settled permanently in Pasadena, California in 1908 where he would eventually serve as the founder of the Stickney Memorial School of Fine Arts in 1913.
Mannheim painted a wide range of subjects, but it is the landscapes of California that demonstrated the heaviest influence on his method. His earlier figures and landscapes were more finished with tighter brushwork and a traditional palette, but after his relocation to Pasadena a remarkable lightness enters his work, reflected in looser brush strokes and a significantly brighter palette.
He exhibited widely throughout his entire career, including the Paris Salon and the National Academy of Design. He was a member of the California Art Club, and his works are in several major collections, including the Denver Museum and the Orange County Museum in California.