New Augustus and Gwen John works at Tenby Museum

By Tenby Observer in Community News

Last week, the Gwen and Augustus John pictures at Tenby Museum underwent a rehang.

Last year, the museum was fortunate enough to be the recipient (via bequest) of six Augustus John etchings.

Previously one wall in the gallery had been dedicated to Tenby’s two famed artists, but now brother and sister have a wall to themselves, giving the pictures the opportunity to breath in their own space.

There are now 19 Augustus works in the gallery (20 if you include his sculpture bust of Dorelia) and 13 works by Gwen.

There is also a display case of personal memorabilia including Augustus’s pipe and Gwen’s painting smock as well as a case of ephemera about Gwen.

Collections manager Mark Lewis said: “We were left these six works by Michael Woodford. Michael was a former binman and school caretaker who collected a serious amount of art. He modestly described himself as a ‘minor’ collector whose motivation was purely to collect art that he loved. He died in March 2015 and left many of his works to galleries, to allow visitors to share the enjoyment of the art that he had had over the years. He had previously loaned us works for shows on Graham Sutherland and Augustus John and obviously felt that Tenby was the place for the Johns’.

“These are delightful additions to the collection and many reflect the things that Augustus held dear - the ‘gypsy’ life. Dorelia and women! They are beautifully executed works and really add to the collection and the visitor experience. Michael was an exceptional character who collected purely through the love of the art and his generosity to us and to the art world in general was inspiring.”

2016 also marks the 140th anniversary of Gwen’s birth and so this re-hang has double relevance.

To mark this anniversary, the museum has borrowed five additional Gwen works to hang alongside the existing works.

Mark said: “I had contacted Cecily Langdale of the Davis and Langdale Company Inc Gallery in New York, and author of Gwen’s Catalogue Raisonne, a few years ago on another Gwen matter and we struck up a friendship. On a visit to New York, I met up with her at her gallery where she had a Gwen John show, and I recently asked her if she would kindly write a piece for our 2016 display. She kindly accepted and produced a lovely piece which is now on display in the show. The five new works including a portrait of Rodin, are truly worth seeing. Even if you have seen some of the other pictures on previous visits to the gallery, I recommend a revisit to the show.”

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