Gwendolen Mary John

1876-1939 Wales-Modern

 

Brief Biography-Gwendolen Mary John, older sister of Augustus John, was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Her mother who was a watercolourist passed away when Gwen was only eight. The children were brought up by their two aunts who were Salvationists. It is suspected that Gwen later converted to Catholicism due to their aunt’s strict upbringing. Their father Edwin, eventually took the children from their aunts and moved to Tenby. In 1895, Gwen followed her brother Augustus to the Slade School of Art in London. In 1898, after a year in Paris she returned to England and exhibited at the New England Art Club. She returned to Paris in 1904 where she took up modelling for artists with her friend Dorelia McNeill. During this period, she encountered Auguste Rodin whom she modelled for, and subsequently became his mistress. She was besotted with Rodin and spent the most part of her life living in solitude, communicating with him whenever she could. All through this time she neglected her painting career. In 1909 an American lawyer, John Quinn who had previously seen her work in London sent her money and asked her to send him as many works of art as she could. It was a turning point for Gwen, she could now afford to concentrate on painting. She moved her lodgings closer to where Rodin lived and as he was a Catholic, it tipped her into becoming a convert. When Rodin died in 1917, she withdrew into herself and lived a meagre existence, surrounded only by her cats. Her health deteriorated and she died on a visit to the sea in Dieppe. She was buried in an unmarked grave of which the whereabouts is still unknown.

 

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At Window

Girl Reading at Window

Girl with Cat

Girl with Cat

Three Girls

Three Girls in Church

Black Cat

Woman Holding a Black Cat

Large Hat

Girl With large hat

Paris Room

Paris Room Corner

A Portrait

A Portrait

Dorelia

Dorelia McNeill

Convalescent

The Convalescent

The Student

The Student

A Girl

A Girl

Portrait

Portrait

Reading

Reading

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

The Nun

The Nun

Pilgrim

The Pilgrim