Gwyneth Johnstone 1914-2010

Gwyneth Johnstone was a unique and successful artist who exhibited in the later half of the twentieth century.

The daughter of Augustus John and niece of Gwen John, two of the most prominent British painters of the earlier twentieth century, Johnstone was born in late 1914, though always kept her date of birth a secret. Her mother, the musician Nora Brownsword, had been seduced by Augustus John while posing for him shortly before the start of the First World War.
Mother and daughter were inseparable and equally bohemian, indeed the artist Julian Trevelyan affectionately referred to them as "The Cave Women" in tribute to their disregard of everyday conventions. However Gwyneth, living in London and Norfolk, had a remote relationship with her father. At one point, she had felt able to share a studio with John and he painted her likeness in a remarkable portrait (reproduced on the website).
She struggled financially in her early time at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, though began to flourish with the Cubist painter André Lhote in Paris. For many years she also had a base in the village of Ramatuelle, near St Tropez, and that sunny landscape sustained her art until she bought a house in Spain, in the hills above Benidorm, where she painted with her friend Mary Fedden. Her themes included shepherds, fishermen and lovers at ease in wild Mediterranean landscapes. Her sheep and cattle seem to be engaged in a dance in the fertile spaces between folds of cliffs, hills and mountains. All Johnstone's imagery, which she called "romantic modern landscapes", convey an innocence and light happiness.
The Artist hit her creative stride following time spent painting with Cecil Collins in the 1950s, a fellow creator of magical and dream-like landscapes. She was also inspired by the work of Christopher Wood and Paul Klee. Showing in exhibitions with the Young Contemporaries, London Group and Women's International Art Club, of which she was president for a time, her career in London began to grow within Swinging ‘60s London. There followed solo shows from Spain to Los Angeles, in several London galleries and a sell-out at Norfolk's School House Gallery in 2007.