Gwen John was the elder sister of Augustus Edwin John. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1895 to 1898 under Henry Tonks, a staunch advocate of the importance of a thorough grounding in the art of drawing. In 1898 she travelled to Paris and studied at the Académie Carmen, under James Abbott McNeill Whistler (whose teaching concentrated on painting techniques). She returned to England in 1899 but finally settled in France once again, in 1904. Initially based in Montparnasse, she supported herself by working as an artist's model for English and American women painters, and for Auguste Rodin, who became her lover. In 1914 she moved to the Paris suburb of Meudon, where Rodin had established a studio and 'held court' at the Villa des Brillants. Gwen was also an associate of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
Her works are Intimist in character: small-scale portraits, quiet interiors, her cats or a familiar sitter (The Convalescent) in a frequently-recurring setting. In recent decades, increasing critical and popular appreciation of her work has gone some way towards realising her brother Augustus's prediction that he would ultimately be remembered as 'Gwen John's brother'.
BENEZIT DICTIONARY OF ARTISTS