Alfred Mendoza (1860-1925)
Alfred Mendoza (1860-1925)
Portrait of a Smoking Woman - 1887
Alfred Moses "Mordecai" Mendoza was an English painter and sculptor of Spanish-Sephardic Jewish origin whose ancestors emigrated from Seville in the 18th century. Born in 1860 in Spitalfields, a district of the East End of London, his father was a keeper of the Jewish cemetery at Mile End, London, activity that Alfred also did for an indeterminate time. Little is known of his life and artistic training, but he is listed as an artist in the 1881 census and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1887 and in Cannes, France in 1907. Married in 1897 to Annie Harriet Dobby, the Mendoza family resided in Tynemouth, Northumberland, but has also lived in France, South America, and Bournemouth, a seaside resort town near Dorset, England. In the 1901 census he is listed as an artist, painter and sculptor. His pictorial work covers almost exclusively portraits and genre scenes, among them, the portrait he made of His Majesty King George V in 1917. Alfred Mendoza died in 1925 in the Kensington area of London.
This oil on canvas represents the portrait of a young woman smoking a cigarette in a relaxed manner. It is most likely Elizabeth Mendoza, the artist's sister, who was married to Moses Coronel Pereira, a cigar manufacturer established at 319A Mile End Road (where the artist also lived). The neighborhood was inhabited at that time by a large Jewish community and poor immigrants of various nationalities. This work is signed in the lower left corner and dated 1887. Original frame in gilt wood and plaster. An incomplete label on the back identifies the Roberts Gallery located at 759 Yonge St. in Toronto. Founded in 1842, by 1870 it was a renowned gallery dealing with British, European and Canadian art and producing high-quality frames. Throughout its 180 years of activity to date, it has had different locations within the same city, the one on Yonge St. corresponding to the period from 1948 to the late 1950s.
His son Montague Philip Mendoza (1898-1973) was also a painter, as well as a comic book artist, illustrator, and political cartoonist who sometimes worked under the pseudonyms Flam or Flambo. Born in Dalston, East London, he served as a private in the British Army from 1914 to 1920. After World War I and during World War II, he became a popular poster designer. In 1951 he became a comic book artist, achieving great popularity.
Also noteworthy, Alfred Mendoza was the great-grandson of Daniel Mendoza (1764-1836), a prominent and well-regarded English boxer and boxing instructor in the 1780s and 1790s. The British actor and comedian Peter Sellers (1925-1980) was also a direct descendant of the boxer.
Sources: Wikipedia; Art Uk; England Census; Bearalley; Lambiek; Dictionary of Neglected Artist Working 1880-1950; Roberts Gallery, Toronto.
Artist: Alfred Mendoza (1860-1925).
Signed and dated in the lower left.
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 51 x 41 cm. / 20 x 16 in.
Frame: 71 x 61 cm. / 28 x 24 in. Very good condition.
Provenance: Ottawa, Canada.