Portrait of Mrs. Cory, c. 1920
oil on canvas
53.6 x 43.6 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Loewen in memory of her mother, Mrs. P.A. Chester
Augustus John is best known for his daring and often controversial portraits, which brought him numerous commissions along with a great deal of both good and bad press. Throughout his artistic career, he struggled to find a balance between the standards of the Royal Academy of Arts and his strong desire to develop a unique personal style. John eventually rejected the social conventions of modern Europe and adopted a bohemian lifestyle, inspired in part by his interest in gypsies. In many of his later works John’s personal turmoil is reflected in his fusion of painting styles and themes. In this portrait of Mrs. Cory, John’s use of gestural lines and arbitrary areas of colour reflects his interests in Post-Impressionism style in the face of the more traditional portrait format.