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John, Gwen (1876-1939)
by Scholes, Robert

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Gwen John (1876 - 1939)

Gwen John, was born in Haverfordwest, Wales in 1876. She studied at the Slade (1895-98) with her younger brother, Augustus, and later with an associate of Whistler's in Paris, where she became a model for Rodin (1906--see his sculpture, The Muse) , with whom she worked and, briefly, played. She led a mostly secluded life after that, loving and painting women and cats. After her conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1913 she moved to the suburban village of Meudon. In later life she concentrated on small-scale portraits and still-lifes. Her small, haunting canvases have become more and more prized over the years, and her brother's half joking prophecy--"Some day I shall be known as the brother of Gwen John"--has begun to come true.

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