'Jeunesse Dorée', 1934

Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (1890 - 1978)

Accession Number LL3908

'Jeunesse Doree', Gerard Leslie Brockhurst

The model for Jeunesse Dorée (and for much of the artist’s work in the 1930s) was his close friend Kathleen (or Dorette) Woodward whom the artist met around 1928 at the Royal Academy, where she was a model for the students. She eventually married the artist in 1947. Brockhurst painted her frequently in the 1930s under various fanciful titles often combining as here a Renaissance format, Symbolist colours and intensity, an enticing sensuality with – from the title – a hint of upper class decadence more commonly associated with the 1920s than the 1930s.

At the 1934 Royal Academy, however, the critics were most impressed by Brockhurst’s hard finish and detail but H Granville Fell observed that ‘Mr Gerald Brockhurst continues to astonish us with his meticulous and sometimes disconcerting analysis of the opposite sex’ and described 'Jeunesse Dorée' as ‘sophisticated and worldy wise’.

An extended study of 'Jeunesse Dorée' is available online as part of our picture of the month series.