Sir John Lavery, Belfast 1856 - 1941 Kilmoganny

  • Sir John Lavery

    Belfast 1856 - 1941 Kilmoganny

Before becoming a fashionable society portraitist, Sir John Lavery studied painting in Glasgow and London before moving to Paris in the early 1880s, where he pursued plein-air painting. Returning to Glasgow in 1885, Lavery soon became a leading figure of the Glasgow Boys, a group of young painters united by a commitment to naturalism. After obtaining a sitting with Queen Victoria in 1888, his position as the premier society portraitist of his generation was assured, prompting a move to London in 1896. He travelled widely, showing his pictures at all the major European salons and secessions, and later setting up a studio in Tangier. In 1910 he married Hazel Martyn Trudeau, the daughter of a Chicago industrialist, whose accomplishments in London society furthered Lavery’s success. With the outbreak of World War I, Lavery began to record scenes of life at military bases and factories, and was appointed as an Official War Artist in 1917. He resumed his travels in the inter-war years, producing many “portrait interiors” of the rich and famous, caught in a mood of elegant relaxation, as well as painting horse-racing, swimming pool, and casino subjects. Through the art dealer Joseph Duveen, he developed a strong reputation in the United States, and in 1935, he went to Hollywood in the hope of painting the stars, although this only resulted in a now lost self-portrait with Shirley Temple.


Sir John Lavery
Belfast 1856–1941 Kilmoganny
Cigarette Makers in Seville, c. 1892
Oil on canvas laid on board
34 x 25.5 cm (13 3/8 x 9 5/8 in.)