cover image Gwen John

Gwen John

Rizzoli, Langdale, Cecily Langdale. Rizzoli International Publications, $19.95 (94pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0681-2

This is an intriguing biography of the early 20th century English painter of female subjects, interiors and still lifes. John, a sort of Emily Dickinson of modern painting, showed her art only once during her lifetime. Despite her cultivation of privacy she was passionately involved in the art world: she was tutored at Whistler's studio and corresponded with Auguste Rodin, ""with whom,'' as Jenkins laconically phrases it, ``she had a love affair.'' Nearly 150 illustrations, 32 in color, show work that reveals both her standard academic talent as well as her strong painterly gifta gift that transcends her time and period. Jenkins is assistant keeper of the modern collection at the Tate Gallery in London, and Langdale is compiling a catalogue raisonne of John's work. (May)