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Sir John Lavery

(1856—1941) painter


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(1856–1941)

British painter, mainly of portraits. He was born in Belfast and studied in Glasgow, in London, and then in the early 1880s in Paris (at the Académie Julian and elsewhere). Between 1885 and 1896 he lived mainly in Glasgow (see Glasgow Boys), then settled in London, although he travelled a good deal and often wintered in Morocco, where he bought a house in about 1903. Lavery enjoyed immense success as a fashionable portraitist (particularly of women), painting in a dashing and fluid, if rather facile, style. His wife, Hazel, was an American society beauty, and he said that her social accomplishments helped his career to flourish. In 1940 he published his autobiography, The Life of a Painter, in which he wrote, ‘I have felt ashamed of having spent my life trying to please sitters and make friends instead of telling the truth and making enemies.’

Subjects: Art — European History.


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