The subject of this painting is Dorelia, the artist’s second wife. Hitherto John had been better known as a draughtsmen and opinions differed about the quality of his other work when it was first exhibited. Contemporary opinion was more sure about the merits of ‘The Smiling Woman’. It was considered John’s ‘arrival’ in painting, as definitely as he had done long ago in his drawings.
John: Woman Smiling
1960 x 982 mm
Oil paint on canvas
Date of work
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1917
Augustus John was born January 1878 in Tenby, Wales. He studied at the Slade School from 1894 to 1898 where he won a scholarship and the Summer Composition Prize. After leaving school he travelled extensively around Europe, the UK and Ireland, where he painted whilst camping with gipsies and worked with Innes and Derwent Lees. His works were exhibited all over London and the rest of the UK and in later years across the USA.