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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 111

    Gwen John (1876-1939)

    Study of a Tortoiseshell Cat

    Price Realised  


    Gwen John (1876-1939)
    Study of a Tortoiseshell Cat
    with stamped signature 'Gwen John' (lower left)
    pencil and watercolour
    6½ x 5 in. (16.5 x 12.5 cm.)

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    In 1904, while living at 19 Boulevard Edgar Quintet in Paris, Gwen John acquired a tortoiseshell cat, and named her after the street name. It is likely that Study for a Tortoiseshell Cat is of Edgar Quintet, placing the execution of this work between the years 1904-1908. Gwen John drew the cat on several occasions, and Sketch for a Seated Cat, circa 1905-8, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is another example in which the cat is sitting in a similar pose to the present work.

    When the tortoiseshell cat went missing in 1908, Gwen John wrote a poem 'Au Chat', inspired by her loss, and sent it to her lover August Rodin. She also wrote about the cat in a letter to her friend Ursula Tyrwhitt on 12 July 1908, 'Now the moon is full I am going to be out all night before the moon wanes & when the cats make love I run to see if my sweet is one of them' (quoted C. Langdale, Gwen John, New Haven and London, 1987, pp. 189-190).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Acquired from Anthony d'Offay, London, 11 August 1977.