Alexander Mann was born in Glasgow; the son of a business man. Aged just ten he became a pupil of Robert Greenlees. He then studied at the Glasgow School of Art and Académie Julian, Paris, before entering the atelier of Carolus-Duran in 1881. He exhibited in Glasgow, London and Paris (1879-93). Mann remained in Paris for 15 years, frequently visiting Scotland, and spent periods in Venice and Morocco. He concentrated on landscapes but also painted genre scenes during the 1880s. He became the first Glasgow artist to receive an Honourable Mention at the Paris Salon (1884). He settled in Hagbourne, Berkshire, before moving to Streatham in 1896. Mann was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1893. He died in London, aged 55.
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