Sir John Lavery


Artist Biography:

Born in 1856, Lavery`s beginnings were turbulent. He was four when his father, a Belfast publican and his mother died, so he was brought-up by relations. His first job was as a photographer`s re-toucher in Glasgow, fitting in classes at the Haldane Academy of Art, which became Glasgow School of Art. Always internationally minded, he studied for three years in Paris and had a picture hung in the Salon alongside Manet`s `Bar at the Folies Bergere`. On his return, he was commissioned by a Glasgow corporation to paint the state visit of Queen Victoria and thus he wrote `At one swoop, I was ushered into royal circles`. Lavery wrote that he and his Glasgow contemporaries recognised Whistler as the greatest living artist and thought of his `pen o`clock lecture` as being the gospel of art. Subsequently Lavery and Whistler became friends. Lavery was 90 in 1918 and elected Vice President of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Engravers and although based in London, from 1890 he spent most winters at his studio in Tangiers.

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