|Died||27 December 1977 (aged 86)|
|Movement||School of Paris, Fauvism, Abstraction|
Born in Bordeaux in 1891, Mildred was the third and youngest child of Manley Forbes Bendall, a highly successful English merchant, and Marie-Blanche-Elisabeth Chrisman. Bendall trained as a painter during 1910–1914 at the atelier of local fashionable painter Félix Carme and her work Coin de Salon Bordelais won a first in the 'Peinture au Palmarès de l'Union Féminine de Bordeaux'. Bendall’s early paintings emulate the ‘Chardinesque’ style of her tutor, but nonetheless, show her solid grounding in drawing, technique and composition, which later earned her the respect of Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet.
In 1920, Bendall gained admission to the ‘Salon des Artistes Français’ in Paris, which eventually prompted her move to Paris during 1927–1928. It was her time at the ‘Académie de la Grande Chaumière’ in Montparnasse, where the painters of the ‘Ecole de Paris’ congregated, that transformed her style. Her friendship with Matisse in particular left a lasting influence on Bendall and her work. She adopted to great effect his ‘Fauve’ ideas on colour as building blocks for form and space. Although Bendall never married, Jean-Gérard Matisse, the son of the painter, did propose to her.
Under Matisse’s guidance, Bendall became an active force of the avant-garde in Bordeaux, and built a real exchange between the provincial capital and Paris. In 1928, she helped to found the ‘Artistes Indépendants bordelais’ as a counter-movement against traditional Academism. Under her influence Bonnard, Braque, Utrillo, Matisse and Picasso all submitted paintings to its yearly exhibitions. In 1929, Bendall was also a founding member of ‘Le Studio’, a free and loosely grouped academy, and first to provide life-drawing classes in Bordeaux.
In 1937, the Galerie de Paris, in Paris exhibited Bendall’s work in ‘Jeune France’, alongside canvasses by Kees van Dongen, Max Jacob and Raoul Dufy. The Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, purchased the work Bouquet a la table ronde.
Following the Second World War and until her death in 1977, Bendall, remained true to expressive colour and strong composition. Her unique blend of Fauvism and Expressionism articulates her individual visual enjoyment of Nature and its satisfying harmonies, in painting strong and tender, modern in technique yet attractive and sumptuous in appearance.
- GALLIANO - DES GARETS Françoise, La Vie culturelle à Bordeaux 1945-1975, Bordeaux, pp. 32-35, 81-82 and 112-114
- E. BÉNÉZIT, Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs; Vol. 2, Gründ, Paris, 1999, p. 281
- GALLIANO - DES GARETS Françoise, La Vie culturelle à Bordeaux 1945-1975, Bordeaux
- E. BÉNÉZIT, Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs; Vol. 2, Gründ, Paris, 1999 (Benezit Dictionary of Artists)
- PERY, Jeny, "Colour as Expression: The Painting of Mildred Bendall" in A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Mildred Bendall 1891 - 1977, exhibition catalogue, Whitford Fine Art, London, 1996
- FERMON, An Jo, "The Painting of Mildred Bendall: The Joy of Colour in Life and Nature" in Mildred Bendall: A Retrospective Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Patridge Fine Art, London, 2008
- POLDEN Sarah, Mildred Bendall, Whitford and Hughes, London, 1987