Catalogue entry

N05910 DORELIA IN A BLACK DRESS c. 1902
 
Not inscribed.
Canvas, 28 3/4×19 1/4 (73×49).
Presented by the Duveen Paintings Fund 1949.
Coll: Mrs Ursula Tyrwhitt; purchased by the Duveen Paintings Fund at the New Chenil Galleries 1926.
Exh: New Chenil Galleries, May–July 1926 (44); Meisterwerke Englischer Malerei aus Drei Jahrhunderten, Secession, Vienna, September–November 1927 (159); Arts Council, Ethel Walker, Frances Hodgkins, Gwen John, Tate Gallery, May–June 1952 (177).
Lit: John Rothenstein, Modern English Painters: Sickert to Smith, 1952, p.167.
Repr: The Listener, 8 May 1952, front cover.

In c. 1902 Gwen John went to France with Dorelia MacNiel, who later became Augustus John's second wife. They went to Paris by way of Bordeaux and Toulouse. It was during their three months' stay in Toulouse that Gwen John painted this portrait and another called ‘Dorelia at Toulouse’. Both were painted directly on to the canvas without any preliminary studies.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I