John William Waterhouse

Born in 1849 - United Kingdom


John William Waterhouse was an English Painter of the Victorian Age. He is considered one of the great master of the neoclassical, pre-raphaelite and symbolist English movement.

John William Waterhouse was born in 1849 in Rome, where his father worked as a painter. He was referred to as "Nino" throughout his life. In the 1850s the family returned to England. Before entering the Royal Academy schools in 1870, Waterhouse assisted his father in his studio. His early works were of classical themes in the spirit of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Frederic Leighton, and were exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists and the Dudley Gallery. In the late 1870s and the 1880s, Waterhouse made several trips to Italy, where he painted genre scenes. After his marriage in 1883 to Esther Kenworthy, Waterhouse took up residence at the Primrose Hill Studios.

His latter painting reveals Waterhouse's growing interest in themes associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly tragic or powerful femmes fatales, as well as plein-air painting. Other examples of paintings depicting a femme fatale are Circe Invidiosa, Cleopatra, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and several versions of Lamia. In 1885 Waterhouse was elected an associate of the Royal Academy and a full member in 1895.

Despite suffering from increasing frailty during the final decade of his life, Waterhouse continued painting until his death from cancer in 1917. From 1908-1914 he painted a series of paintings based upon the Persephone legend. They were followed by pictures based upon literature and mythology in 1916 (Miranda, Tristram and Isolde). One of his final works was The Enchanted Garden, left unfinished on his easel at his death, and now in the collection of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Liverpool.

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J. W. Waterhouse - Garden of Enchantment - The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Montreal, QC
J.W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite - Royal Academy of Arts, London
J.W. Waterhouse (1849-1917). Betoverd door vrouwen - Groninger Museum, Groningen


The Making of Reputation - Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya
Glass Cat - Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, London
Witches & Wicked Bodies - Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland
Falmouth Frameworks - Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth, Cornwall
Beauty, Morals and Voluptuousness in the England of Oscar Wilde - Musée d´Orsay, Paris
Heroines - Fundación Caja Madrid, Madrid
Big Society - Space Station Sixty-Five (SS65), London
RA RA - Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth, Cornwall
Victorian visions: 19th-century art from the John Schaeffer Collection - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
A mixed bunch - Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth, Cornwall
Hidden Treasures: The Sena Collection - University Gallery and Baring Wing - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Passion and Politics - Two centuries of British art - Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland
Triumph der Schönheit - Epoche der Salonmalerei von Makart bis Rossetti - Kunsthalle Krems, Krems
A Tale to Tell - Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland
Love & Death - Art in the Age of Queen Victoria - Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD
Love & Death - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
British Victorian Painting - Featuring the Schaeffer Collection - Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
New Acquisitions - The Permanent Collection - University Gallery and Baring Wing - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Ten Decades: a Review of British Taste 1851-1951 - ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, London
6. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia 1905 - La Biennale di Venezia, Venice

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