Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Gwen John (Study for a Muse)

Artist:
Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
Date:
probably modeled ca. 1904
Culture:
French
Medium:
Cast plaster
Dimensions:
Height: 4 in. (10.2 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of the artist, 1912
Accession Number:
12.12.7
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 800
Gwen John (1876–1939) was a student at the Slade School of Art where Rodin was well known through the Slade Professor, Alphonse Legros. The Slade students and ones from the Royal College pulled Rodin's carriage through the streets of London in 1902 after the banquet at the Café Royal to honour the acquisition by the South Kensington Museum of St John the Baptist.[1] Gwen John exhibited three paintings at the Carfax Gallery in 1900 (where Rodin's work was also shown) causing her brother to write to William Rothenstein of her work: "the little pictures to me are almost painfully charged with feeling."

Apart from the heads and full-length studies for the unfinished Monument to Whistler, there are drawings of Gwen John (drawing, or writing) in the Musée Rodin, as well as a group of her own watercolours of cats.

Books on Gwen John have naturally stressed the importance of Rodin in her life, justified in view of the passionate letters, signed Mary John, in the Archives. Rodin, however, during this period, had numerous misstresses and talented admirers and between 1908 and 1912 succumbed to the domineering influence of the Duchess of Choiseul.

[1] Adrian Stokes wrote an account of this event. Rothenstein in Men and Memories, London, 1932, vol. II, p. 65.
Signature: Signed: A. Rodin
Auguste Rodin (until 1912; to MMA)
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