'Foster’s study, splendidly illustrated throughout, is a genuinely critical biography: a careful gathering at every stage of John’s career of the impact on her life and work of different milieux and individuals, of her response to ideas and techniques, currents and influences, letting us see a great artist working out her own way to live, draw, and paint'
Jenny Uglow, New York Review of Books
'In this thoughtful biography Gwen John takes her deserved place as leading lady. Recueilli was a favourite Gwen word - collected or gathered - but what takes you by surprise is her determination, her total dedication to art and, when it comes to Rodin, her sensuousness. The more you look at her initially unassuming paintings the more enigmatic, elusive and powerful they become. A present for a young woman with a room - and a will - of her own'
Laura Freeman, Art Books of the Year, The Sunday Times
'Exemplary in its social and art historical research'
'Foster shakes up the usual view of John, virtuosically reading her paintings not as quiet meditations on solitude and domesticity but as direct interventions in the world around her'
Times Literary Supplement
'Art historian Alicia Foster sets the record straight in this eminently lucid biography, revealing a well-connected personality embedded at the heart of international modernism'
'Beautifully illustrated throughout, the book breaks down the myth of the artist as a recluse and tells the story of her life, as well as painting a vivid portrait of London and Paris of her time'
'A psychological portrait of a woman who helped develop her own mythology, not least through a combination of self-dramatisation and canny self-promotion … a welcome critical study of her work that acknowledges her ambition and places the artist within the various environments that inspired, shaped, and stimulated her'
'A brisk, beautifully illustrated biography'
'Foster’s book and Pallant House’s exhibition give us a different Gwen John: sensuous, single-minded and experimental in how she chose to live and work'
'This new biography by art historian and long-term Gwen John scholar Alicia Foster re-examines John’s life and art in the light of previously unpublished archival material … Far from choosing to live an isolated existence, [Gwen John’s] many friendships with major artists, poets and writers of the day profoundly influenced her work, as is made abundantly clear from the wealth of illustrations'
'Foster’s new biography, which stands in as a catalogue for the show, does a better job of proving John’s “worldliness”'
London Review of Books
'Fascinating, handsomely illustrated … not only illuminates John’s work and personality as never before, but dispels a number of legends that have grown up about her life'
'Extensively illustrated, erudite and readable'
The Burlington Magazine