Augustus John: A Life in Portraits
Past display archive
26 July 2011 - 18 March 2012
Room 31 case display
by Charles F. Slade
This display marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Augustus John (1878-1961), one of the most celebrated British artists of the early twentieth century. He was regarded as an outstanding painter and a brilliant draughtsman. He was associated with the New English Art Club and the Camden Town Group but remained largely independent from artistic trends and movements. By the 1920s he was the leading portraitist of his day whose sitters included many of his most distinguished contemporaries such as George Bernard Shaw and T.E. Lawrence. Alongside these achievements his lifestyle epitomised that of the bohemian artist, a reputation bolstered by his fascination with Romany culture.
Selected from the Gallery’s photographs collection, this display spans Augustus John’s life from youth to old age. It includes photographs by Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson, Bill Brandt and Alvin Langdon Coburn. The display complements portraits by Augustus John currently on show of son Sir Caspar John, the society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell and the poet Dylan Thomas.
© National Portrait Gallery, London