CORNELIS JAN (CEES) MENSION (1882-1950): Samsom and Delilah

Chalk drawing, signed lower right, dimensions 85 x 75 cm (including frame), 50 x 42 cm (drawing). Price € 650.

Cees Mension, born in Delft, is best known and appreciated as an animal artist, but in this large drawing he indulges in the biblical story of Samsom / Simsom, the powerhouse who was seduced by Delilah and who lost his physical strength by cutting his hair. Perhaps Mension was looking for the animalistic in man with this sensual and exotic image. The naked female figure is very accurately portrayed and contrasts in an exciting way with the helmeted Samson. Set in a velvet-lined double passe-partout and a beautiful gold frame, this work fits perfectly in a location that is not too bright, for example in a boudoir or on a mantelpiece.

Cees Mension visited the Teekeninrichting in his hometown of Delft and later the Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague. There he was taught by Franz Helfferich (1871-1941). Like his teacher, Mension painted landscapes as well as cityscapes, still lifes and portraits in an impressionistic style. Mension became known for his paintings, drawings, lithographs and etchings of exotic animals such as monkeys and tigers, which he captured on paper and canvas in the Rotterdam zoo. Mension has also provided book illustrations such as for 'Timon and Matjan. An Indian Fairy Tale' (1924). From 1919, Mension worked as a hand drawing teacher at the Technische Hogeschool in Delft, where he was a close associate of Karel Sluyterman (1861-1931). In 1929 Mension would paint a beautiful portrait of this professor of decorative arts and ornamentation, who was also a gifted craftsman. From 1943, Mension was also a teacher at the Hague Academy of Art.

As a portrait painter, Mension received many commissions from wealthy citizens. Queen Wilhelmina commissioned Mension in 1933 to capture her husband's dachshunds on canvas for his birthday. In addition to the Royal Archives, the Prinsenhof museum, the Delft University of Technology and the Paul Tetar van Elven museum keep works by Mension. In 2010 a retrospective exhibition of the work of this Delft master was held in the latter museum. From 1913 until his death in 1950 Mension was a member of Arti et Amicitiae Amsterdam.

The drawing and framing are in very good condition. There is a light, unobtrusive fold over the drawing.

Cornelis Jan Mension 139-1

Cornelis Jan Mension 139-2

Cornelis Jan Mension 139-3