Convalescent | Gwen John | 1924
The Welsh Gwendolen John travels to France with the intention of going to Rome with a tight budget: they sleep outdoors in fields and they eat with the money they make doing portrait sketches. In 1904 John starts working as a model and poses for different artists. One of them was the great sculptor Auguste Rodin, with whom he has an affair.
Approximately in 1913, her relationship with Rodin ends and her fragile health worsens. She look for refuge in the Catholic Church and express her wish to become in “God’s little artist”. These reasons make John to shut herself away in her apartment, only with the company of her cats.
Most of her paintings are portraits of unknown women with their hands over her thighs. John painted slowly, with subtle colors and dull tones. Convalescent is a self portrait in which she appears sick, reading on a couch at the time she drinks a tea. Her face is relaxed and her look is focused on the material she is reading. It is an interior scene which expresses a deep loneliness… like a painting by Hopper under a frosted glass.