Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris
Artist(s): Gwen John
Author(s): Alicia Foster
Year published: 11 May 2023
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Total Pages: 272
Illustrations: 92 colour, 30 b&w illustrations
Published to accompany the exhibition Gwen John: Art and Life in London & Paris 13 May – 8 October 2023 at Pallant House Gallery
The first critical illustrated biography of this much-loved artist, locating her firmly in the art worlds of late 19th- and early 20th-century London and Paris.
One of the most significant British artists of the twentieth century, Gwen John (1867-1939) made her life and work within the heady art worlds of London and Paris.
This critical biography demolishes the myth of Gwen John as a recluse and situates her, brilliant, singular and assured, amid a rich cultural milieu that included James McNeill Whistler, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paula Modersohn-Becker and Maude Gonne. Art historian, curator and novelist Alicia Foster draws on previously unpublished archival sources to explore John’s many relationships with artists and writers, including her affair with Auguste Rodin, passionate friendships with Jeanne Robert Foster and Véra Oumançoff, and correspondence with, among others, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and her Slade compatriot and fellow painter Ursula Tyrwhitt. John’s library, ranging from writing by her friends Rilke and Arthur Symonds to French philosophy and religious thought, is considered, as is her part in the increasing presence and visibility of women artists in the early-twentieth-century art world. From the life rooms of the Slade to the Paris salons, this is the story of an artist both devoted to her craft and deeply involved in the life and creativity of her era.
With over 120 illustrations, Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris offers a lively, meticulously researched portrait of Gwen John as a vital and utterly compelling figure in twentieth-century art history.
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