The painter Nicola Manev was born in August 28, 1940 in Pazardzhik and grew up in Tchirpan, a small town in southern Bulgaria, in the heart of the Thracian plain. After completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, in the class of Professor Vassil Stoilov, he left for France. In 1962 Nicola Manev studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris, at the studio of Maurice Brianchon. The young artist was then supported by the poet and art critic Alain Bosquet.
After a long stay at the City of Arts in Paris, Manev undertook a series of trips in search of natural phenomena, but also cities rich in history such as Venice, New York, Siena, Varna, Veliko Turnovo. However, Paris remained his main residence, the place where he returned to exhibit his paintings after each studious journey. From the high-pitched studio in the Ile Saint Louis to the Porte de Bagnolet, near the Place of Edith Piaf, there were paths followed in a demanding quest for an increasingly internationalized creation for the artist. But it is on the edge of the Black Sea that Manev liked to relax in his white house looking at the sea where he organized festivals for painters from all over Europe.
Deeply marked by the landscapes, the cultural and artistic traditions of his native country, his works show his love for the wide, open spaces he discovered during his many travels around the world in search of forms and secret structures of nature. This quest took him from the dunes of the North Sea to the shores of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea through the desert stretches of the Sahara and the great plains of Colorado. Each trip gave birth to drawings, oils and watercolors that bear the imprint of his emotions and his enthusiasms and are testimonies of his various pictorial periods. Over time, he developed a very personal language that led him to redefine the fields of the abstract and the figurative, while his double belonging to French and Bulgarian cultures brought a particular accent to his pictorial vocabulary. His drawings, his oils and his watercolors, gave birth to multiples: tapestries, lithographs and sculptures. For more than 20 years, Manev collaborated with the LE "HALLE" Gallery to promote contemporary Bulgarian art. His unclassifiable works, halfway between the abstract and the figurative, are of a sensitivity close to lyricism which, behind an almost geometric construction mark all the emotions of the painter and let perceive in filigree, his double belonging to the French cultures and Bulgarian.
Wherever were his travels and artistic pursuits, Nicola Manev retained always his cultural identity. For more than 50 years, he has lived and worked in Paris, but has never interrupted his Bulgarian roots. This fateful connection, fertilizing his remarkable works, was the reason to be welcomed and praized not only in Europe, but also very much in his home country. He was recognizable - not only by the general public and the media, but also by the people who stop and greet him on the street or on the market, his favorite place. There was no barrier between them, and the conversation was like old acquaintances - the flowers he will plant, the sweetness of fruit, our gracious land, prices, politics or the daily life. The ease of this communication was probably the tolerable price for the Parisian Nicola Manev after having traveled half the world without losing his Bulgarian identity. With his brush, "heavier than a spear and sharper than a sword", as some of his friends describe him, Nicola Manev led his fans into the sacred battle against the walls of mediocrity. His creative power was based on the tradition of serving his home land, which Nicola Manev generously pursued.
Nikola Manev has over 150 solo exhibitions and participations in general exhibitions, planners and biennales. Over 3 000 of his canvases are exhibited in state and private collections and museums in over 30 countries. His name and artistic history are included in the world Benesit Dictionnary of Artist. The artist participated regularly in the Autumn Salon in Paris. There are several books devoted to the history of his live and artistic accomplishments by Bulgarian gallerists and journalists, but also one written by the famous French poet and a close friend of Nikola Manev, Alain Bosquet.
The artist hodls an academic degree from the Bulgarian Academy of Science and Arts in 2008. He is a honoray citizen of Chirpan, Varna and Pazardzhik.
Nicola Manev passed away in Paris in August 2018, leaving behind one of the finest contemporary art painting collections of his time. He worked on his artworks until the last days of his life, staying true to his passion for art.