Augustus John

Wales / 1878 - 1961 / wikipedia /
Augustus Edwin John OM RA (4 Jan. 1878 – 31 Oct. 1961); Welsh painter, draughtsman, and etcher. For a short time around 1910, he was an important exponent of Post-Impressionism in the United Kingdom. He was the brother of the painter Gwen John.

Augustus was celebrated first for his brilliant figure drawings, and then for a new technique of oil sketching. His work was favorably compared in London with that of Gauguin and Matisse. He then developed a style of portraiture that was imaginative and often extravagant, catching an instantaneous attitude in his subjects.

...It was said that after the war his powers diminished as his bravura technique became sketchier. One critic has claimed that "the painterly brilliance of his early work degenerated into flashiness and bombast, and the second half of his long career added little to his achievement." However, from time to time his inspiration returned, as it did on a trip to Jamaica in 1937. The works done in Jamaica between March and May 1937 evidence a resurgence of his powers....

Of his method for painting portraits John explained:
“Make a puddle of paint on your palette consisting of the predominant color of your model's face and ranging from dark to light. Having sketched the features, being most careful of the proportions, apply a skin of paint from your preparation, only varying the mixture with enough red for the lips and cheeks and grey for the eyeballs. The latter will need touches of white and probably some blue, black, brown, or green. If you stick to your puddle (assuming that it was correctly prepared), your portrait should be finished in an hour or so, and be ready for obliteration before the paint dries, when you start afresh.”

Augustus John's promiscuity gave rise to rumors that he had fathered as many as 100 children over the course of his life. [See]
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First Collected by

Salomé Prada Pottecher


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