Reposting a blog from 3/20/2013.
Gwen John (1876-1935) and her precocious younger brother Augustus John, who later became a well known portraitist, were already producing art works during their childhood in Wales. After studying in London, she chose Paris as her creative home in 1903. To earn money, she was employed as a model by the sculptor Rodin and also became his lover for several years. Later, she would convert to Catholicism and devote herself to a more spiritual existence.
Solitude is a key to her unique vision. I should like to go and live somewhere where I met nobody till I am so strong that people and things could not affect me beyond my reason, she once wrote. Yet, John seems to invite us into the softly colored atmosphere of A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris, as if asking us to share her personal and private space.
Note: the date of Gwen John’s death varies from 1935, 1936, and 1939.
Quote of the artist from Gwen John by Cecily Langdale, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1987.
To discover more about Gwen John and other women artists, see Women Artists: An Illustrated History (Revised and Expanded Edition), Abbeville Press, New York, 1991.