'…in his fashionable, diaphanous style Mr McEvoy has done nothing more brilliantly clever than the big portrait piece ‘Madame de Gandarillas and her Children’

This ambitious group portrait is one of McEvoy’s largest works and was painted in 1918 when his star was in the ascent. By this date he had built a considerable reputation among the most fashionable society circles and his work was in high demand.

This portrait depicts the beautiful Juanita Gandarillas and her children, Marie-Rose, Carmen and Juana. Juanita (or Juana) Gandarillas (née Edwards Mac-Clure) was the daughter of Agustín Ricardo Edwards Ross, a Chilean businessman and politician; she was also the sister of the Chilean ambassador. In 1909 she married José Antonio ‘Tony’ de Gandarillas Huici, a wealthy Chilean diplomat, whose epicene looks and charm matched a glamorous, bohemian lifestyle.

Tony and Juanita were wealthy, attractive and exotic. In London they hosted parties at their Chelsea residence for some of the most prominent artists and tastemakers of the day, including John Singer Sargent, Cecil Beaton, Lady Diana Cooper and Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets...

Read more

This ambitious group portrait is one of McEvoy’s largest works and was painted in 1918 when his star was in the ascent. By this date he had built a considerable reputation among the most fashionable society circles and his work was in high demand.

This portrait depicts the beautiful Juanita Gandarillas and her children, Marie-Rose, Carmen and Juana. Juanita (or Juana) Gandarillas (née Edwards Mac-Clure) was the daughter of Agustín Ricardo Edwards Ross, a Chilean businessman and politician; she was also the sister of the Chilean ambassador. In 1909 she married José Antonio ‘Tony’ de Gandarillas Huici, a wealthy Chilean diplomat, whose epicene looks and charm matched a glamorous, bohemian lifestyle.

Tony and Juanita were wealthy, attractive and exotic. In London they hosted parties at their Chelsea residence for some of the most prominent artists and tastemakers of the day, including John Singer Sargent, Cecil Beaton, Lady Diana Cooper and Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes. All of this was under the watchful eye of Tony’s aunt, Eugenia Errázuriz, patron of the arts and muse, in particular to Pablo Picasso. The couple were the perfect subject for McEvoy, who would paint the influential Errázuriz the following year. Tony was also sketched separately in watercolours around this date.

Gandarillas had already been painted by artists including Giovanni Boldini (1914) and Augustus John (1916), but by the time she was portrayed by McEvoy her marriage was already overshadowed by her dilletante husband’s obsession with young men and opium. It has been suggested that the unnatural distance in the painting’s composition between Juanita and her eldest daughter was perhaps originally filled by the figure of Tony, who was painted out by McEvoy when the marriage disintegrated.[1]

One of Tony’s conquests was the modernist painter Christopher Wood, whom he met in Paris in 1921. He financially supported Wood and introduced him to his influential circle of friends, as well as to opium, which was to be a contributing factor in the painter’s premature death. Their relationship lasted six years and is described as having symbolised the ‘reckless intensity, the escape into opium-induced euphoria, the joys and ravages of endless partying and the almost hysterical need to create or to appreciate and sponsor creativity’ of the 1920s.[2] Later, Juanita Gandarillas embarked on a sporadic affair with the Bloomsbury group member and art critic Clive Bell.

On viewing the portrait at the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers exhibition in 1918 one critic remarked:

…in his fashionable, diaphanous style Mr McEvoy has done nothing more brilliantly clever than the big portrait piece ‘Madame de Gandarillas and her Children’[3]

[1] Faulks, S. 2010. The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives. London: Vintage. This suggestion is made by Faulks. He states that the portrait was renamed ‘Madame Gandarillas and her Children’, although this would appear to be the original title when the picture was first exhibited in 1918. No critics noted the absence of Tony from the family group and the picture was in his possession when exhibited.

[2] Teitelbaum, M.A. 2011. The Stylemakers: Minimalism and Classic-Modernism 1915-45. London: Philip Wilson Ltd., p.76.

[3] Phillips, Sir C. 1918. Unknown newspaper. [Press cutting.] Akers-Douglas Scrapbook. In Akers-Douglas, E.A., 3rd Viscount Chilston. 2019. Divine People: The Art and Life of Ambrose McEvoy (1877-1927), ed. L. Hendra.. London: Paul Holberton Publishing.

Receive information about exhibitions, news & events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.

Receive information about exhibitions, news & events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.
Close

Basket

No items found
Close

Your saved list

This list allows you to enquire about a group of works.
No items found
Close
Mailing list signup

Get exclusive updates from Philip Mould Gallery

Close

Sign up for updates

Artwork enquiry

Receive newsletters

In order to respond to your enquiry, we will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.

Close
Search
Close
Close
500 Years of British Art