Art: God's Little Artist

ln private Gwendolen Mary John liked to call herself "God's little artist." She was very reticent about her painting and was reluctant to sell it or show it publicly. She often neglected her pictures after completing them, and left them lying about in odd corners of her studio.

Last week, seven years after her death, Londoners saw the first show of her work. (Her famed brother, swashbuckling portrait-painter Augustus John, had helped promote it.) The sad portraits, flower pieces and cat studies seemed as limited and dim as reflections in a cup of tea, but visitors found them strangely moving.

Many of the...

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