Laura Gascoigne

The quiet genius of Gwen John

Plus: the influence of English art on the paintings of Berthe Morisot

‘A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris’, c.1907-9, by Gwen John. © Sheffield Museums Trust

In the rush to right the historical gender balance, galleries have been corralling neglected women artists into group exhibitions: the Whitechapel Gallery rounded up 80 women abstract expressionists for its recent Action, Gesture, Paint show. But imbalances can’t be corrected retrospectively. Rather than elevating women artists who didn’t make it in a male-dominated world – not all of whose work, if we’re honest, helps the female cause – we should be celebrating the grit and talent of the few who did.

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