Emmanuel Mané-Katz was born in 1894 in Kremenchug (now in Ukraine). After studying in the Kiev and Vilnius schools of Fine Arts, he moved to Paris in 1913 with only 25 roubles. He studied in the studio of Cormon at the École des Beaux-Arts with Soutine, Krémègne and Kikoïne. In Paris, Mané-Katz met other important artists including Chagall and Picasso. He discovered the works of Rembrandt and also became influenced by the Fauves, especially Derain, and briefly by Cubism. In 1914, unable to join the French Foreign Legion (due to his short stature), he returned to Russia after the outbreak of the First World War. In 1917, after a trip to London, Mané-Katz was appointed professor at the Kharkiv Fine Art School. In 1919, he held solo exhibitions in Kharkiv, Rostov-on-Don and Tiflis (today Tbilisi).
In 1921, he returned to Paris where he started to collect many Jewish art objects and gained French citizenship in 1927. In Paris he painted many works on the subject of life in the ghettos of Eastern Europe: rabbis and Talmudic students, fiddlers and drummers, comedians and beggars. He also painted a number of landscapes and flower studies. Between 1928 and 1937, he travelled to Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Lithuania. During the Second World War, he was arrested at Royan but managed to escape via Marseille to New York, where he remained for the rest of the war.
Afterwards he settled in Paris and continued travelling during the last ten years of his life. He visited Israel, and travelled widely, returning to Paris in 1960. He died in Israel (which he viewed as his spiritual home) in 1962. He bequeathed his paintings and a large collection of Judaica to the city of Haifa, where they are now on display in the Mané-Katz Museum.
In this atmospheric seascape the artist employs loosely-handled paint and sweeping brush strokes to conjure up the drama and movement of a small boat tossed by the waves.