Augustus John (1878 - 1961)

Augustus Edwin John, the brother of the British painter Gwen John, trained at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1894 to 1898, where he won numerous prizes and awards. He became a member of the New English Art Club in 1903, and was Professor of Painting at the University of Liverpool from 1901 to 1904. He travelled throughout Europe (his first visit was to Paris in 1900) and he was a regular visitor to the USA. Before World War I John lived as a traveller with his family, in caravans in England and Wales. During World War I he was attached to the Canadian forces as a war artist. John was made a member of the Royal Academy in 1928; he resigned in 1928; but he was re-appointed in 1940. He was a president of the Society of Mural Painters. He was a member of the Camden Town Group in 1911 and a member of the London Group from 1940 to 1961. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1942.


John quickly earned a reputation as one of England's foremost painters. His earliest works combine the poetic sentiment of the Pre-Raphaelites with a broadly Impressionist technique. Numerous works illustrate aspects of Roman life, to which John was introduced by his friend John Sampson, University Librarian at Liverpool. His mural paintings showed remarkable talent, but his work in this area was curtailed by his numerous portrait commissions - by turns intimate or grand and sumptuous in character, and often strikingly composed - undertaken to support his large family and notoriously bohemian lifestyle. 


Text Source: Benezit Dictionary of Artists