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Augustus Edwin John

John, Augustus Edwin, 1879–1961, British painter and etcher, b. Wales. John studied at the Slade School, London. A leading portrait painter, he had many important sitters, among them Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), Lloyd George, G. B. Shaw, T. E. Lawrence, Sean O'Casey, and Dylan Thomas. His portraits show vigorous characterization without flattery. His celebrated Smiling Woman is a portrait of his wife (1910; Tate Gall., London). John's etchings include several self-portraits as well as portraits of W. B. Yeats, Jacob Epstein, and James Joyce. John's sister Gwen John, 1876–1939, was a student of Whistler and a painter in the Pre-Raphaelite manner.

See his autobiographical Chiaroscuro (1952); memoir by R. John (1975); biographies by J. Rothenstein (1945, repr. 1976) and M. Holroyd (1974, rev. ed. 1996); studies by T. W. Earp (1934) and M. Easton and M. Holroyd (1975); biography of Gwen John by S. Roe (2001).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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