MANN, [Sargy] Martin O. H.

1937 - 2015

'Sargy' Mann

Born at Hythe, Kent on 29 May 1937, son of Stanley Mann, and his wife Mary B. née Kent, who married at Kingston, Surrey in 1924. He was nicknamed 'Sargy' when a pupil at Dartington Hall, Devon and, before beginning his painting career, spent 5 years from 1953 studying Mechanical Engineering at an Oxford Technical College, gaining a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering whilst working as an apprentice at the Morris radiator factory in Oxford. It was while doing a maths A-level in London that he showed his drawings to a student friend, who persuaded him to apply to an art school, but was turned down by St Martin’s but won a place at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts where he studied 1962-1964, taking a postgraduate course in 1967, his tutors included Frank Auerbach, Euan Uglow, Dick Lee and Anthony Eyton. Sargy taught at Camberwell 1969-1988 and was Co-Curator for ‘Bonnard at le Bosquet’ at the Hayward Gallery, London and Laing Gallery, Newcastle 1994, Lecturer at Verocchio Art Centre, Italy 1996-1997 and Visiting Lectuere at the Prince’s Drawing School 1999-2008. Although deeply influenced by Cezanne and Bonnard his paintings attain a remarkable originality, his recent work is all the more astonishing now that he is completely blind, being diagnosed with cataracts at 36, and, due to detached retinas, went on to lose his sight completely in 2005, but in his mind's eye his vision did not fade. He has exhibited regularly since 1983, including the Royal Acadamy; Royal College of Art, London; Cadogan Contemporary, London and the The First Aldeburgh 100 Exhibition and today his paintings, collected by Daniel Day-Lewis among others, are more acclaimed than ever. Before Sargy Mann married, he lived for eight years as the house guest of his friends, Kingsley Amis and his second wife, Elizabeth Jane Howard, in their Georgian home, Lemmons, in Hertfordshire. He married at St Pancras, London in 1976, his former student Frances Carey. With a wife and four children to support they lived in Peckham, South London before moving in 1990, to a low-beamed riverside house at Lawn Meadow, Bridge Street, Bungay, near the Suffolk coast. He died of cancer on 5 April 2015. ('Sargy Mann: probably the best blind painter in Peckham' 2008).

Works by This Painter