Other name Menushkin
Born Karotopin, Ukraine
Died London, England
Bernard Meninsky (née Menushkin) was born in 1891 in Karotopin, Ukraine and came to England with his family when he was just six weeks old, settling in Liverpool. In 1906 he entered the Liverpool School of Art, where he won a number of awards including a travel scholarship enabling him to study for three months in Paris in 1911. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he met and mixed with several 'Whitechapel Boys' including David Bomberg and Mark Gertler. The following year he briefly taught drawing in Italy, then returned to London to take up a teaching post at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, also joining the London Group. During the First World War, Meninsky joined the Royal Fusiliers and fought in Palestine. In 1918 he was recruited as an official war artist, but was discharged from service after suffering a nervous breakdown. He held his first solo exhibition in 1919.
Meninsky devoted much of his time to teaching drawing, but also painted portraits, figures and landscapes (the latter became dark and atmospheric in the 1920s and '30s). In 1946, his illustrations to Milton's poems in his favoured monumental, neo-classical style, were published. He continued to exhibit but suffered several mental breakdowns, eventually, taking his own life in 1950 at the age of 58.
Object type drawing
Medium coloured pencil on paper
Unframed 31.5 x 24 cm
Framed 51.5 x 43.5 cm
Signed signed and dated, bottom left: B. Meninsky 1913
Acquisition gift from Mary Cohen 1948
Accession number 1987-289
Display status not on display
This finely executed drawing was completed towards the end of Meninsky's one year scholarship studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, where his contemporaries included David Bomberg and Jacob Kramer, and is likely to have been an entry for a Slade summer composition. Kramer and Clare Winsten (who left the Slade in 1912) both completed similar compositions on the mother and child theme. The subject of maternity inspired many of Meninsky's works c. 1918-20, particularly following the birth of his first son, David, in 1918, after which the artist became almost obsessed with the image of motherhood. ‘Mother & Child Drawings’ was the title of his first solo show at the Goupil Gallery in 1919 and in 1920 he published ‘Mother and Child: 28 Drawings by Bernard Meninsky’, with a text by Jan Gordon.