s e l f p o r tra i t , Gwe n Jo h n
To simply create an accurate portrait of JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER seemed too simple to Rodin. He wanted to express more than Whistler’s outer appearance — to show his ideas, intuitions and art. He thought of the muse that had inspired Whistler: a graceful, well-formed female model. The model RODIN would use appeared in the shape of young Welsh painter GWENDOLEN MARY JOHN , called GWEN JOHN .
Gwen Gwen was born in the small town of Haverfordwest in the south of Wales in 1876 . When she was eight years old, her family moved to the Welsh coastal town of Tenby. A rugged,
lonely landscape with steep cliffs and fields for agricultural work imbued the young girl with a love of freedom and nature. She often took her younger brother, Auguste, sketching – they both loved to draw and paint. While their education at home was certainly lacking, Gwen learned how to behave like a lady and even how to speak some French. Both she and Auguste were allowed to study painting at the »SLADE SCHOOL OF ART« in London for three years.