Gwen John was solitary, introverted and creative. Born in Haverfordwest, Wales, her father was a lawyer and her mother an artist. Her father became so grief stricken when her mother died that he quit his job and became a recluse. At age eight, John had lost her mother but continued to live with her siblings and father in a loveless home. She became interested in art along with her brother, Augustus John, at a young age and attended various art schools. Her love of art landed her in France in 1904. Soon she met and fell in love with, perhaps the most famous artist of the time, the sculptor, Auguste Rodin, there after becoming both his model and one of his mistresses. Their love affair was intense proven by the more than 2,000 letters that she wrote to him. Rodin introduced her to many famous artists of the time: Pablo Picasso, George Barque, Henri Matisse and Cezanne. John also made the acquaintance, through Rodin, of John Quinn, an American collector. Quinn would later support her both financially and emotionally until his death in 1924. Even though she exhibited her work in Paris at the Salon d’Automne in 1919, and well into the mid-1920’s, she never gained the notoriety that she would until after her death. Known for painting muted colored portraits in a ¾ length pose, John was a methodical perfectionist. Because of failing eye sight and health, she ceased painting around 1920, and lived in the village of Meudon where she kept only the company of her cats. In an undated letter she wrote, “I should like to go and live somewhere where I met nobody I know till I am so strong that people and things could not affect me beyond reason.” In 1926, she met Véra Oumançoff, with whom she had a rather obsessive relationship until Oumançoff ended it. Known for her tenacious personality, John’s relationships never ended well. John lived most of her life in France and died in Dieppe in 1936. During her lifetime she produced approximately 158 paintings in addition to drawings and sketches of which many were of her own tortoiseshell cats.