Gwen John
Nude Girl 1909–10

Artwork details

Gwen John 1876–1939
Nude Girl
Date 1909–10
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 445 x 279 mm
frame: 539 x 371 x 55 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1917
Not on display

Display caption

The human body, a traditional theme in western art, was a tricky subject for women artists at the turn of the century because of questions of morality and decorum. By using a narrow colour range and minimal setting, and suppressing biographical details, John draws attention to the naked body. At the same time, the character of the model, Fenella Lovell, comes across powerfully. So the viewer experiences this painting, disconcertingly, as a portrait of a contemporary woman with no clothes on, who seems to be uncomfortable that we are looking at her.

February 2010