Audio: Augustus John, Dorelia in a hat
Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more VARIOUS PROPERTIES
Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)

Dorelia in a hat

Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
Dorelia in a hat
signed 'John' (lower right)
11½ x 9¾ in. (29.2 x 24.8 cm.)
Executed circa 1907.
Anonymous sale; Phillips, London, 13 June 1989, lot 50.
Ms Celia Philo, London.
with l'Art Ancien International, SA, Panama.
Acquired by the present owner in June 1994.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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André Zlattinger
André Zlattinger

Lot Essay

In 1903 Augustus John met Dorothy McNeill, whom he dubbed 'Dorelia', and later that year she moved in with the artist, his wife and family, becoming his muse. To him she was the embodiment of his complex ideal of womanhood: as Michael Holroyd commented: 'She was, of course, hypnotically beautiful - almost embarrasingly so, Will Rothenstein found: 'one could not take one's eyes off her'. ... In his portraiture, Augustus was like a stage director, assigning his subjects all sorts of dramatic roles. Dorelia, it seems, acquiesced in them, fitting each of them to perfection - mother, mistress, little girl, phantasm, goddess, seductress, wife. She became all things to him; she was everywoman' (Augustus John The Years of Innocence, London,1974, pp. 148-149).

Dorelia's unique features have often been likened to that of the Mona Lisa, with her self-possessed, enigmatic gaze. In the present drawing her eyes are turned away, both a demure and alluring pose beneath the heavy brim of her hat. This drawing is accomplished with long and flowing lines, which are freer in execution than John's depictions of Dorelia in 1903-4.

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