The Convalescent (1918-9). Gwen John (Welsh, 1876‑1939). Oil on canvas. Tate.
John’s contemplative studies of lone women in the calm surroundings of their home suggest intimacy and peace but also a simultaneous sadness. There is no narrative content but the title, The Convalescent, suggests a way in which we might read the painting. It relies rather on mood, atmosphere and closely toned harmonies of colour for emotional impact.