Ronny Van De Velde
Marc Mendelson was born in London on November 6, 1915, but his Belgian father moved the family to Antwerp, Belgium, in 1922. He studied at the Institut supérieur des beaux-arts from 1934 to 1939, and his first solo exhibition took place in 1942 at Salle Lamorinière, Antwerp. Mendelson was a founding member of the avant-garde group Jeune Peinture Belge (also known as Jonge Belgische Schilderkunst, young Belgian painters, 1945–48). Aiming to promote the progressive work of young Belgian artists in the immediate post–World War II period, the group’s main exhibition took place in 1947 at the Palais des beaux-arts, Brussels. Mendelson subsequently showed at the Venice Biennale (1948) and the São Paulo Biennial (1951, 1953), and he received an honorable mention at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1952). He was also included in Younger European Painters: A Selection (1953–54) at the Guggenheim Museum. This same year he was commissioned to produce murals for Kursaal Oostende, Ostend, Belgium, and, in collaboration with fellow Jeune Peinture Belge member Louis van Lint and architect Roger Thirion, murals for Restaurant Canterbury, Ostend. In 1951, Mendelson joined the faculty at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture et des arts décoratifs (La cambre), a renowned school of architecture and art in Brussels.
Frequent visits to Spain in the 1950s intensified Mendelson’s engagement with abstract painting. In the 1960s he increasingly experimented with surface variations and matiérisme (matter art), the method of inserting materials such as sand, mud, or cement into thick impasto and applying it to the canvas. This practice linked his work to that of such artists as Jean Dubuffet and Antoni Tàpies. Mendelson returned to figuration and watercolor as a primary medium from the 1970s through the mid-1990s. Major exhibitions include a retrospective at the Museum voor moderne Kunst, Ostend (1995), and a solo exhibition at Musés royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Brussels (2010). Mendelson died on December 8, 2013.