Woman with a Coral Necklace,
late 1910’s – early 1920’s
Woman with a Coral Necklace could also be titled Woman with a Pearl Earring, after Vermeer: the earring’s high tone echoing the catch-light in the eyes. The expression in the eyes demonstrating the meditative quality of recueilli that Gwen John so desired: ‘I may never have anything to express, except this desire for a more interior life’. Painted at her studio in Meudon, the flat tonal range and use of bare canvas show her admiration for Cézanne and her journey towards modernism: from Tenby to London, then Paris, John’s ambition was affirmed by her selection for the Armory Show, New York, 1913.
Professor Sharon Morris, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.