The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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John Lavery, 1856-1941

Nationality: Irish
Date of Birth: 1856.03.26
Place of Birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date of Death: 1941.01.10
Place of Death: Kilkenny


John Lavery, painter and academician, married Annie Evans in March 1890. After her death in 1891, he married Hazel Trudeau, née Martyn, daughter of a Chicago industrialist, in 1909. He was knighted in 1918.


Lavery was a highly successful painter of portraits, genre and landscape subjects. He spent his early life as a photographer's assistant in Glasgow but later studied in London and Paris (at the Academie Julian). At this time he came under the influence of Jules Bastien-Lepage and a plein-air naturalist style.

In the mid 1880s, he became associated with the Glasgow Boys. He was elected an artist member of the Glasgow Art Club in 1881. He was a member of the Arts Club (of which JW was occasionally a member) between 1891-1913. He was elected ARSA in 1892, RSA in 1896, and ARA in 1911.

He met JW about 1888, and JW appears to have respected him and enjoyed the company of Lavery and his first wife. Arrangement in Grey and Green: Portrait of J. J. Cowan (YMSM 402) was commissioned by the sitter through Lavery.

Lavery became vice-president of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in 1897, often acting as peacemaker between the President, JW, and the committee members.

Lavery was one of JW's pallbearers at his funeral on 23 July 1903.


Lavery, Sir John, The Life of a Painter by John Lavery with 69 Photogravure Illustrations, London, 1940; K. McConkey, 'Sir John Lavery,' The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy (accessed 26/9/03); Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908.