William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Poet & Dramatist

Augustus John (1878 - 1961)



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Image of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Poet & Dramatist
  • About the work
    Country: Finland
    City: Helsinki
    Place: British Embassy
  • About the artist
    Augustus John was born in 1878 in the Welsh town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire; his sister, the artist Gwen John, was born two years before him. He moved to London in 1894, where he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and gained a reputation for his bohemianism and colourful personality. In 1901 he married Ida Nettleship, a fellow student from the Slade, and moved with her to Liverpool to teach art. After the birth of his first son in 1902 he moved back with his family to the London area, where he was made a member of the New English Art Club in 1903 and founded the Chelsea Art School with William Orpen. In 1902 he met Dorothy McNeill (1881–1969), who he named ‘Dorelia’, and she became his muse, mistress and the mother of four of his children, two of whom were born during his marriage to Ida. After Ida’s death in 1907, Dorelia assumed maternal responsibility for all but the youngest of John’s children by Ida. In the years immediately preceding the First World War, John lived something of a nomadic life, inspired by the Romany culture to which he had been introduced through the scholar and adventurer John Sampson. During this period he spent time travelling and painting in Wales, France, Ireland and England with fellow artists James Dickson Innes (1887–1914) and Derwent Lees (1885–1931). In 1917 he was employed as a war artist by the Canadian War Records Office. Many of his paintings from the period between the wars were portraits: his depictions of Jacob Epstein and Lady Ottoline Morrell (both in the National Portrait Gallery, London) and Dylan Thomas (in the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff) are among his most well known. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1928 but resigned a decade later over the rejection of Wyndham Lewis’s portrait of T. S. Eliot; he rejoined in 1940 and was awarded the Order of Merit two years later. John’s bohemianism was the inspiration behind several characters in twentieth-century literature, including the artists John Bidlake in Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point and Struthers in D. H. Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod. During the second half of the twentieth century John’s artistic reputation was eclipsed by that of his sister Gwen, but his work has experienced a revival in both popular and critical acclaim in recent years.
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    Yeats, William Butler
    Materials & Techniques
  • Details
    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Poet & Dramatist
    height: 28.00 cm, width: 22.50 cm
    Origin uncertain
    S&D CR on plate: John 07; SBR (in pencil below plate): John; INSBL (in pencil): 108 CD 28 IV W.B. Yeats (5th Plate)
    GAC number