AUGUSTUS JOHN RA (1878-1961)
Self Portrait, 1920
etching and drypoint on laid, signed and dated in pencil, from an edition of 105, with full margins
17.5 x 12.8 cm
Born in Tenby, Wales, John was the son of a solicitor and brother of the painter, Gwen John. He was one of the most prominent artistic personalities of his day, famous for his bohemian lifestyle, womanising and fascination with gypsies; also renowned as a brilliant draughtsman. John attended the Slade School of Fine Art (1894-98), winning a scholarship in 1896. He became professor of painting at Liverpool University (1901-04). John visited Paris regularly and continued to travel in Europe, spending some of the time in the company of gypsies, whose nomadic life greatly appealed to him. He exhibited with the NEAC in 1899 and a joint exhibition was held with his sister, Gwen John, at the Carfax Gallery, London (1903). John is best known for his commissioned portraits as well as drawings and paintings of his second wife, Dorelia, and his many children. John was elected RA in 1928, although he resigned in 1938, and was re-elected in 1940. He was awarded Order of Merit (1942) and published two autobiographical books, Chiaroscuro (1952) and Finishing Touches (1964). His work was shown extensively in his lifetime and posthumous retrospectives include: National Portrait Gallery (1975); National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (1996); and a joint exhibition with Gwen John at Tate Britain (2004-05).
Anonymous sale; Auction 25380 Prints and Multiples, Bonhams, London, May 2 2019, Lot 16, where purchased.