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Art in Focus on Drawings and Etchings by Augustus John at National Museum Cardiff
Augustus John, Dorelia in Eastern Dress. Photo: Estate of Augustus John / Bridgeman Art Library.

CARDIFF.- The work of one of Wales’ most renowned artists, Augustus John, is celebrated in a new exhibition Lyrical Lines: Drawings and Etchings by Augustus John (1878-1961) at National Museum Cardiff until 5 June 2011.

This display, of over fifty drawings, marks fifty years since the artist’s death. The drawings are taken from the Museum’s fine holdings of work by Augustus John, with the addition of loans from an important private collection. The special display is part of Museum’s changing programme which explore aspects of the work of 20th century artists from Wales, and those that made their home here.

One of the most flamboyant and talented artists of his generation, John was born in Tenby and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. The teaching there emphasised skill in drawing and John’s talent soon stood out. As well as studies for paintings, John produced life drawings and portraits of his friends and family. The powerful, lyrical lines of his drawing style led him to become the star student at the Slade.

Inspired by the work of Rembrandt, John also produced etchings. His spontaneous working style adapted well to this printmaking technique and these works have the same immediacy as his drawings. The subjects of his prints reflect those of his drawings and paintings: portraits, nudes and gypsy encampments. John’s mounting fame both as an artist and a personality led to great success as a portrait painter and numerous commissions from leading figures of the day. His family remained a constant source of inspiration, especially his lifelong muse and partner Dorelia McNeill.

Beth McIntyre, Curator of Prints and Drawings at Amgueddfa Cymru, said, “As a museum, we're committed to displaying the work of twentieth century artists from Wales and Augustus John was certainly one of Wales’ most acclaimed artists of this time. Amgueddfa Cymru holds a vast amount of his work and I hope visitors to the museum will be able to appreciate his amazing talent through this series of drawings.”

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