John, Gwen

Date: 1876-1939

Gwen John was a Welsh painter who worked in France for most of her career. The older sister of Augustus John, her paintings, mainly portraits of anonymous female sitters, are rendered in a range of delicate tones.

Between 1895-1898, she studied at the Slade School, the only art school in the UK which at the time of John’s enrolment allowed female students to draw from the partially draped male nude. She then briefly studied under James McNeill Whistler at his school, Académie Carmen in Paris. In 1904 after settling in France, she found work as modelling for other artists, including the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Overshadowed by her brother during her lifetime, since the 1960s she has been considered the better artist.

The University Art Collection holds one drawing by Gwen John, entitled ‘Study of a Seated Girl’.