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William Clarke Wontner

Sep - 9 - 2013
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Frederic William Henry Myers

Frederic William Henry Myers

William Clarke Wontner(17 January 1857 Stockwell, Surrey – 23 September 1930 Worcester) was a English portrait painter, neo-classical artist during the neo-classical movement of England, of which Lawrence Alma-Tadema was the foremost leader. Wontner added Orientalist elements into his paintings because he loved to paint seductive women often against white marble walls in classical oriental settings.
Wontner was born in Stockwell, Surrey, the son of noted architect, designer and renderer William Hoff Wontner (1814–1881) and Catherine Smith.
Under the tutelage of his father, Wontner worked with John William Godward (1861–1922), a noted exponent of what became known as Greco-Roman style. The two were destined to become great friends.
William Clarke Wontner was a friend of the John William Godward family and when John William Godward exhibited early drawing skills, his Godward’s family allowed their son to study architectural rendering classes from W.H. Wontner, senior, on a recreational basis in the evenings. Godward escaped by taking architectural rendering classes from W.H. Wontner, and perhaps a few night classes from local art schools. Wontner’s son, William Clarke Wontner was a few years older than Godward and further along in his artistic career, also mentored the young Godward. Later, Godward would reciprocate by being a major influence on Wontner’s art, as well as, becoming lifelong friends.

The Dancing Girl

The Dancing Girl (1903). William Clarke Wontner (English, Academic, Neo-Classicism, 1857-1930). Oil on canvas. Wontner was one of the minor painters who followed the neo-classical movement in England, of which Alma-Tadema was the foremost. He painted beautiful and seductive women in classical or oriental surroundings. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1879, and at the Society of British Artists and the Institute of Painters in Watercolour.

Wontner was a relatively minor painter who was part of the neo-classical movement in England, led by Alma-Tadema. His style favoured seductively languorous women against classical or oriental marbled backdrops. His faithfully rendered fabrics draped over patently European models, somehow created an air of Orientalism. From 1879, Wontner exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists and the Institute of Painters in watercolor. After the closure in 1890 of the Grosvenor Gallery (which had been the epicentre of the aesthetic movement of the 80’s) and the rival of the very exclusive Royal Academy, Wontner, like many other artists, moved to the New Gallery.
Wontner married Jessie Marguerite Keene (1872–1950), daughter of Charles Joseph Keene, on 7 June 1894 at St. Dominic’s Priory Church, Naverstock Hill in Hampstead. The couple had no children.
Although William Clarke Wontner became a minor player in the art world, it never stopped him from painting the things he loved most. He continued to paint until his death in 1930.Wontner was buried on 26 September 1930 at Ripple in Worcestershire.

Resources on the Internet

The artist’s works-Pinterest

The artist’s works-Pinterest
The artist’s works-Allposters.com
A small biography. English language Wikipedia
A small biography. E-vint.com
The artist’s works. Tumblr
The artist’s works. Artnet.com
The artist’s works. Artesehumordemulher.wordpress.com
The artist’s works.BBC.co.uk

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