John William Godward
British, 1861 - 1922
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John William Godward was one of the best of the followers of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. (Alma-Tadema's followers are now known as 'The Marble School'). Godward devoted his whole life to painting girls in classical robes, usually posing decoratively on a marble terrace. Unlike many of Alma-Tadema's followers, Godward painted well and at his best was almost as good as, if not sometimes better than, Alma-Tadema.
Unfortunately, he had come into an area of painting that was already overcrowded with artists who were striving to find new variations on a theme that was overworked by the turn of the century.
By the 1920s most Victorian paintings had become a subject of mockery, and none more so than the neo-classical subjects. Godward was unable to change his style of painting and when, he found himself unable to sell his paintings, he committed suicide by putting his head in a gas oven. His family were so ashamed of Godward and his suicide that they destroyed almost all of his papers and photographs. Not one photograph of him survives.
Godward exhibited 19 pictures at the Royal Academy between 1886 and 1916 and he lived for some time in Chelsea, London.
Today, Godward's paintings are sought after by collectors. In 1995, 'Dolce Far Niente' was sold at auction for $567,000.
A selection of art exhibitions which have featured this