Dorelia by Lamplight, at Toulouse (1903-04). Gwen John (Welsh, 1876-1939). Oil on canvas.
In John’s work, as in Whistler’s, the atmosphere of a portrait is just as important as the display of personality or the narration of biography. Wishing to be free of family expectations and, perhaps, of her brother Augustus’ fame, John moved to Paris in 1904. En route John made three paintings of her travelling companion Dorelia McNeil.