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Mortimer Menpes (1855-1938) was, in his own words, "a painter, etcher, raconteur andAaAA rifle-shot."
Born in Port Adelaide, Australia on February 22, 1855, Menpes attended art classes as a young man and in 1975, married Rosa Mary Grosse. The couple had a son and two daughters, one of whom, Dorothy Whistler Menpes, was artist James McNeil Whistler's namesake and goddaughter.
After moving to England with his family in 1878, Menpes continued his art studies at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington, and exhibited at a Royal Academy exhibition for the first time in 1880. It was around this same time, during a sketching tour of Brittany, he first met Whistler.
In 1887, Menpes traveled to Japan and upon his return to London, held his first one-man show, at Dowdeswell's gallery. In the years that followed that show and his concurrent falling-out with Whistler, Menpes traveled widely and continued his own etching and painting. Later, and often working with his daughter Dorothy, he published a number of illustrated books, including the first edition of Whistler As I Knew Him. Menpes died in Pangbourne, England, on April 1, 1938.
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