Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gwen and Augustus John

I attend an art appreciation group once a month (it sounds very grand but is only a few friends improving our knowledge of artists).  This last month I suggested we study Gwen (1876 - 1939) and Augustus John (1878 - 1961)  British brother and sister.  I came across Gwen John whilst wasting time perusing on Pinterest.  I am totally addicted to Pinterest and could spend hours on there!  The first painting of Gwen's that I found I just fell in love with.  It  is of a nun and two orphans


and I even persuaded my husband to paint it on a large canvas for our dining room.  Gwen is noted for her portraits of unknown female sitters and later became an artist's model and lover of Rodin.


Study of a child, probably another orphan.


This is a self portrait painted in 1902.


By the 1920s Augustus John was Britain's leading portrait painter and he painted Dylan Thomas, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw and T E Lawrence to name but a few.  My favourite is his painting of W B Yeats.


I particularly like the paintings of some of his children


Pyramus


Robin


and Caspar (who later became a British Admiral and First Sea Lord Sir Caspar John).

Augustus is reputed to have fathered more than 100 illegitimate children and apparently used to affectionately tap all children on the head in case they were his own!

96 comments:

  1. last week we were in Birmingham museum art gallery (long story but I mainly wanted to look at the Pre-Raphs) and I found a Gwen John on display and instatly fell in love.
    I do like his work, but somehow can't get over the fact that I don't like HIM. Judgemental I know.
    I have a friend who found a whole folder of his sketches dumped in a skip after he died!

    Hope all is well with you
    xx

    ReplyDelete
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    1. WOW, I need to start sifting through skips - amazing! Am wondering which painting of hers you fell in love with.

      Delete
  2. I found this interesting! I didn't know the background of Caspar John, presumably Caspar John Close is named after the same (in which case who are the Robinson, Crofton and Boyd etc too?)
    PS Don't fancy being called Pyramus, wonder what happened to him...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Presume the Boyd is Admiral Sir Denis Boyd, Fifth Sea Lord (1891 - 1965)but can't find a Robinson. Apparently Pyramus died at 8 years old from meningitis days after his sister, Poppet was born. Good job you weren't a boy then, Rosie, you could have ended up as Pyramus Tapping!!

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    2. Caspar John ended up as Admiral of the Fleet Sir Caspar John, who made a significant contribution to the war at sea in WW2 by thinking out and reconfiguring how Atlantic convoys could travel resulting in a lower casualty rate from German U-boats. Pyramus died of meningitis I think at about the age of eight.

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  3. they are amazing......and pinterest is soooooo addicting your right!

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    1. I lose all sense of time when on Pinterest.

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  4. Oh how interesting, I love seeing portraits with my husband being a portrait artist too.
    love
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    x

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    1. Yes, Alison, and people will be studying his work in years to come.

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    2. Yes, how funny to think that!
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  5. I love Gwen John's work too and remember seeing the wonderful Anna Massey play her in an '80s TV film - she looked very much like Gwen. Like Bunny, I can't get over her brother's faults enough to appreciate his work!

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  6. I'd love to have seen that play.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi! Ruth,

    Such lovely art. You can never have enough knowledge on Art and the appreciation group is great!

    I am fond of the drawings. Very nice!

    Thanks! for sharing. Have a beautiful weekend!

    Blessings & Hugs,
    Marlene

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  8. Those children's portraits are wonderful!
    Thanks for your comment.Yes,we did see the video of the floods,in the tourist centre in Boscastle.We love Rock too. We walked along the coast path from Polzeath to Rock and then sat in the Rock Inn looking out towards Padstow.Wish I was back there now! :0)

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