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Gwen John: 164 Colour Plates

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Maria Peitcheva
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Gwendolen Mary John was a Welsh artist who worked in France for most of her career. She is noted for her still lifes and for her portraits, especially of anonymous female sitters. John was an artist's model for the sculptor Auguste Rodin. John exhibited in Paris for the first time in 1919 at the Salon d'Automne, and exhibited regularly until the mid-1920s, after which time she became increasingly reclusive and painted less. She had only one solo exhibition in her lifetime, in London in 1926. In that same year she purchased a bungalow in Meudon. In December 1926, distraught after the death of her old friend Rilke, she met and sought religious guidance from her neighbor, the neo-Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain. She also met Maritain's sister-in-law, Vera Oumancoff, with whom she formed her last romantic relationship. Gwen John's last dated work is a drawing of 20 March 1933, and no evidence suggests that she drew or painted during the remainder of her life.

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