Gwen John Self-Portrait 1902

Artwork details

Artist
Gwen John 1876–1939
Title
Self-Portrait
Date 1902
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 448 x 349 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1942
Reference
N05366
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1890

Display caption

Gwen John trained at the Slade School of Art in London. She was taught in a traditional style, which involved laborious copying of Old Master paintings. This training shows through in the naturalism and carefully controlled colour range of this picture. As a woman in a career still largely dominated by men, including her successful brother Augustus, Gwen had to struggle for recognition. The self-scrutinising intensity of this image, and the isolation of the figure, registers some sense of this struggle. But the self-assessment, and our response to it, is left ambiguous.

May 2007

About this artwork