Little Girl Wearing a Straw Hat
Children, nuns, domestic interiors, cats and solitary women compose the output of Welsh-born artist Gwen John (1876-1939).
Following three years of study at the Slade School of Art in London and partly to escape an overpowering father, Gwen settled in France.
In 1910 she moved to Meudon, on the outskirts of Paris, where a nearby convent-run orphanage provided her with many opportunities to draw and paint. Gwen’s biographer, Sue Roe, describes how “…the children would arrive with the Sisters from the convent and sit towards the front of the church in their pinafores and hats, observed by Gwen, who now came to sit in her black cape drawing them from the back.” (Gwen John: a life, p.129)
In 1918, friends fearing for her neglected health invited Gwen to Pléneuf on the north coast of Brittany where “Gwen did many drawings of Breton children, smartly turned out in their dresses, ribbons and hats.”