Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Corner of the Artist's Room

I was interested to learn that there is a new book available whose plot revolves around one of my all time favourite paintings by my very favourite artist.

I first saw ‘A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris’ many years ago at the Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield. I fell in love with its simplicity and its tranquility. It is has a stark masculinity and yet, at the same time, is very feminine. I love the glow of light from the fine netted window which gives the viewer a fleeting glimpse of the outside world. I saw the painting again in 1985 at the Barbican in London as part of the exhibition of Gwen John’s work called ‘Gwen John- An Interior Life’ I still treasure the catalogue I bought then and look through it often.

The room in question is 87 Rue du Chereche-Midi, where Gwen John lived on the top floor from 1907 until 1909. It was during these years she became the model and later the lover of the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Although the new book doesn’t get a particularly good review, I will still read it. I can’t not, can I?

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