In Memory

Jean Mandola

Submitted by Bill Kerr:

Jean Mandola 1930-2017

I would like to provide a fitting goodbye to the late artist and professor Jean Mandola. 

Jean taught in Europe for over 40 years and was known and loved by many colleagues and students. 

She developed both study tours and studio art classes in a unique and populist spirit, and brought out the history of art in such immediacy as could never have been done in the United States. She did study tours in Paris, Nice, Amsterdam and Cologne. 

In her studio art classes she gave everyone a chance to find the artist in themselves. She did this without condescension or sentimentality. 

She retired in 2013 and left her home in Wiesbaden to stay with her son Nick, in Kentucky. Besides Nick, she has two daughters, Gaby and Gina. All are world travelers and each is an artist in his/her own right. 

I shall miss Jean Mandola, my colleague and long time friend, for her imagination, her youthful soul, her will to life, the energy of her artistic vision, her generosity, and her good and proper rejection of all that is mindless or pretentious.

She died on October 17, 2017. 

She was 87 years old.

(Her family can be reached through the Face Book site as follows: Gabrielle Mandola www.facebook. com)

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01/17/18 01:21 PM #1    

Susan Olden (Olden-Stahl)

I just signed in and learned that Jean Mandola had passed away last year.  We spent many happy times in Wiesbaden [at the American Arms] and Heidelberg in the late 70s - especially all the art history field trips to Paris and Basel - especially Paris where we were roommates in a totally classic Parisian lodging. The room was so small that when breakfast was  brought in, it could only be handed in to us - still in the bed that literally filled the space - Jean commented that she imagined we were in an insane asylum. I miss her still.  Susan O-S

02/20/18 09:19 AM #2    

John Nolan

I have been holding off on writng this too long, but it is hard to imagine Jean not alive- she was one of the most alive people I have even known. A woman of tremendous energy, I know she more or less single handedly inveigled space from the Army on at least two bases ( Weisbaden and Hanau) to create studio/workshops  that were incredible operations-  giant canvases, stretching operations, framing, all managed by Jean with enthusiastic student labor. There, students could stretch out and really express themselves thanks to her. And as for the field studies, I had the emmense pleasure of spending several days in Amsterdam with Jean, studying Van Gogh and indulging her sometimes wicked sense of humor with a comedy club!  This one of the keys to her success inspiring students though- she made life fun, and was fun to be around.   What really impressed me most about Jean though was her enquiring mind. On several occasions  we talked for hours about politics and university gossip, but the real treasure were when she talked about art- I learned so much from here, for which I am forever grateful. But she was always so willing to share- mentoring other art instructors and helping them develop courses,  developing syllabi  or trying to figure out how to, in a practial sense, teach art online- despite her well justified scepticism about online teaching, and despite her suspicion that they were being brought in to take here job!  Despite a very  distingusihed background, she was always so well grounded- plain speaking, no nonse, tell it like it is, no matter what the subject. I think of her often, and will always contiue to think of her as alive because she  had a spirt no death could possibly overcome.     

09/11/18 11:09 PM #3    

Benjamin Terry Williams

I remember Jean fondly from the early 1980''s in Wiesbaden at Lindsey Air Station. She was a fairly quiet but witty, artistic woman in her 50's at that juncture. I am sorry to hear of her passing but am happy that she had a long, interesting life. My condolences to her family and friends.

10/29/20 07:22 PM #4    

Doug Lemmon

Submitted by Richard Talbert


I met Jean in 1985 in Vence, France, where we were fellows at the Michael Karoli Foundation. I also recently found out that Stephen Hayward passed away. Jean, Stephen, and I were the best of friends, and we spent several months together at the Karoli Foundation in Vence and painting, drawing, and photographing.

As a brilliant art historian, Jean brought so many exciting and colorful ideas to our daily conversations about art and architecture. I can only imagine how many thousands of students Jean taught abroad and how lucky they were to have her as their art teacher.

She was inspirational and a genius. She told me to buy Apple Stock. ”Only buy Apple Stock” and ”Bob Dylan would win the Nobel Prize.” How did she know these things?

Jean was my dear friend, and she was my colleague in France, and I will always think of her and miss her. Now I will put her in my long list of prayers.

Richard Talbert

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