Born in Serpa, Manuel Bentes studied in Lisbon and set off for Paris with Eduardo Viana and Manuel Jardim in 1905, a city where he was to stay
intermittently until 1938. He worked there in graphic arts. He was one of the organisers of the Free Exhibition of 1911 in Lisbon, an event which
constituted a landmark in the instauration of modernism. He worked at a studio set up at a branch of the National Museum of Ancient Art. He was a
curator in the area of painting in Paço da Vila Viçosa.
What was destroyed in his work allows an incipient evaluation to get away from naturalism and from academism by the adoption of traces of
Cézannism, faceting surfaces, in the landscapes and still-life he carried out. By dint of his activity as an “entertainer” at the Free Exhibition he has a firm
place in Portuguese art history of the last century.