Augustus John OM

Washing Day

c.1915

Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 406 x 302 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased with assistance from Sir James Murray 1923
Reference
N03730

Display caption

Augustus John first became well known for his drawings, usually full length studies of women of his own family or of models in striking poses. In Provence in 1910 he began to paint small oil sketches of figures and landscapes, directly in bright colours onto wooden panels. There were intended as studies for paintings, but were commercially very successful. Ocasionally, as in 'Washing Day', he used the same procedure for a domestic subject. His second wife, Dorelia, the model for his best drawings, here wears the brightly coloured clothes she designed and made herself, and which set a fashion for a 'gipsy' style of dress.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

N03730 WASHING DAY c. 1912
 
Not inscribed.
Oil on wood, 16×11 7/8 (40·5×30).
Purchased from the Independent Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) with the aid of a subscription from Sir James Murray 1923.
Coll:John Quinn, New York.
Exh: Chenil Gallery, February 1916 (13); Private Collection of the Earlier Work of Augustus John, Independent Gallery, January–February 1923 (39).
Lit: Mary Chamot, Modern Painting in England, 1937, p.57.
Repr: Marriott, n.d., pl.8 (in colour); Tate Gallery Illustrations, 1928, pl.99.

The Misses Nettleship consider that this picture of Dorelia washing clothes was most likely painted in the garden of Alderney Manor, Dorset, a house into which John and his family moved in 1909.

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