Gwen John

Young Woman in a Grey Cloak

c. 1920-1924
The sitter in this portrait, who appears in almost fifty paintings by Gwen John, is unidentified and known only as the "convalescent model." With its loosely painted shades of grey relieved only by the flesh tones of the face, the red of the lips, and the browns of the hair, it is one of four virtually identical works, all unusually large by John's standards. Typical of the portraits of women she painted in her studio in the Paris suburb of Meudon, the model's pose is straightforward and tranquil, her head is disproportionately small, and her gaze, impassive. John led an increasingly reclusive life and rarely exhibited her work. Unlike her brother, Augustus John, her reputation as an artist was not established until several years after her death. Sentimentalizing about his sister, Augustus said, "Fifty year after my death I shall be remembered as Gwen John's brother."
Artist
Title
Young Woman in a Grey Cloak
Date
c. 1920-1924
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
64.6 x 46 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Gift of the Massey Collection of English Painting, 1948
Accession number
4924