AUGUSTUS JOHN (1878-1961)
was a Welsh Post-Impressionist painter, etcher and portraitist. John is best
remembered for his portraits, which included such illustrious subjects as T.E.
Lawrence, Tallulah Bankhead, Thomas Hardy, W.B. Yeats, Aleister Crowley, George
Bernard Shaw and Dylan Thomas.
One-page, 5 ¼ x 7, ALS, Salisbury, February 8, 1935, to Mr. Pollock in which he refers to his portrait of eccentric Italian heiress and patron of the arts Marchesa Casati (1881-1957), who was known for her parties, fashion sense, menagerie of exotic animals and as Gabriele D’Annunzio’s lover. According to the letter, her portrait was owned by Napier Sturt, 3rd Baron Arlington (1896-1940), the sometime lover of Bankhead.
Our letter also mentions John’s painting “The Green Jacket,” which was the subject of media interest in 1928 when John visited a Boston gallery to see the painting, believing it to be a forgery, having no memory of having painted it.
“The other picture of the Marchesa Casati would I am sure be available if you wrote to Lord Alington, Crichel, Wimborne. It has not been reproduced. ‘The Yellow Jacket’ has been reproduced frequently. I think there has even been a picture post-card of it. My portrait of Mr. Montagu Norman has never been properly reproduced. This in possession of the Bank of England and of course I have sent a considerable number of other pictures as Mr. Rutter may know.
“P.S. Another I might suggest is ‘The Green Jacket’ belonging to Sir James Dunn Bnt”
FRANK RUTTER (1876-1937) was the art critic for The Sunday Times. A proponent of modern art, he did much to promote the arts in England, including founding the Allied Arts Association, dedicated to staging exhibitions for modern artists.
JAMES DUNN (1874-1956) was a Canadian industrialist and steel magnate who earned a fortune in banking which he invested in mining ventures and Algoma Steel in Ontario, Canada. He was an avid art enthusiast whose collection included works by Holbein, Manet, El Greco and Dali. John painted Dunn’s portrait and he also owned John’s painting “Dorelia,” a portrait of John’s common law wife and frequent model, Dorothy McNeill.
A wonderful letter.
Mailing fold, expected toning and two
pin holes a top left, not affecting the writing. Comes with an image of John and his painting
“The Green Jacket” and his portrait of Montagu Norman.
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