Joanna Mary Wells Gretchen 1861

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Gretchen
Date 1861
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 730 x 437 mm
frame: 922 x 618 x 48 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by the artist's daughters 1923
Reference
N03814
Not on display

Display caption

Joanna Wells (née Boyce) established a reputation during the 1850s as a painter of portraits, genre and landscape. She also wrote art reviews for the Saturday Review. This painting may represent the innocent maiden from Goethe’s tragic play Faust but could also be a portrait of a nursery maid in the employ of the Wells family. The painting was started shortly before the artist’s death following the birth of her third child and is unfinished. D.G. Rossetti, who described Wells as ‘a great artist sacrificed to bringing more kids into the world’, judged the painting to be her greatest work.

October 2013

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