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Aubrey
Beardsley
English printmaker
born August 24 1872- died March 16 1898

Nationality:
English


Biographical Information

BEARDSLEY, AUBREY VINCENT (1872—1898), English artist in black and white, was born at Brighton on the 24th of August 1872. In 1883 his family settled in London, and in the following year he appeared in public as an “infant musical phenomenon,” playing at several concerts with his sister. In 1888 he obtained a post in an architect’s office, and afterwards one in the Guardian Life and Fire Insurance Company (1889). In 1891, under the advice of Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Puvis de Chavannes, he took up art as a profession. In 1892 he attended the classes at the Westminster School of Art, then under Professor Brown; and from 1893 until his death, at Mentone, on the 16th of March 1898, his work came continually before the public, arousing a storm of criticism and much hostile feeling. Beardsley had an unswerving tendency towards the fantastic of the gloomier and “unwholesome” sort. His treatment of most subjects was revolutionary; he deliberately ignored proportion and perspective, and the “freedom from convention” which he displayed caused his work to be judged with harshness. In certain phases of technique he especially excelled; and his earlier methods of dealing with the single line in conjunction with masses of black are in their way unsurpassed, except in the art of Japan, the country which probably gave his ideas some assistance. He was always an ornamentist, rather than an illustrator; and his work must be judged from that point of view. His frontispiece to Volpone is held by some to be, from this purely technical standpoint, one of the best pen-drawings of the age. His posters for the Avenue theatre and for Mr Fisher Unwin were among the first of the modern cult of that art.

The following are the chief works which are illustrated with drawings by Beardsley: the Bon Met Library, The Pall Mall Budget, and The Studio (1893), Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur (1893—1894), Salomé (1894), The Yellow Book (1894—1895), The Savoy Magazine (1896), The Rape of the Lock (1896).

See also J. Pennell, The Studio (1893); Symons, Aubrey Beardsley (1898); R. Ross, Volpone (1898); L-L. C. Marillier, The Early Work of Aubrey Beardsley (1899); Smithers, Reproductions of Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley; John Lane, The Later Works of Aubrey Beardsley (1901); R. Ross, Aubrey Beardsley (1908). (E.F.S.)

Source: Entry on the artist in the 1911 Edition Encyclopedia.

   Artist Portraits

   Books and Related Products About This Artist

How Morgan Le Fay Gave a Shield to Sir Tristram

1893-1894
Indian ink
27 x 21.1 cm
(10.63" x 8.31")
Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-03-26
How Morgan Le Fay Gave a Shield to Sir Tristram
Virgilius the Sorcerer

1893
Indian ink
22.8 x 13.8 cm
(8.98" x 5.43")
Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois, United States)

Added: 2002-03-26
Venus between Terminal Gods

1895
Indian ink touched with white
22.5 x 17.8 cm
(8.86" x 7.01")
Cecil Higgins Art Gallery (Bedford, United States)

Added: 2002-03-27
Venus between Terminal Gods
How Sir Tristram Drank of the Love Drink

1893-1894
Indian ink and pencil
28.2 x 21.2 cm
(11.1" x 8.35")
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachussetts, United States)

Added: 2002-03-27
How Sir Tristram Drank of the Love Drink
The Toilet

1896
Indian ink
25.6 x 17.2 cm
(10.08" x 6.77")
Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, United States)

Added: 2002-03-27

Dudley P. Allen Fund

The Peacock Skirt

1894
Indian ink
22.7 x 16 cm
(8.94" x 6.3")
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachussetts, United States)

Added: 2002-03-27
The Peacock Skirt
Dreams

1894
Indian ink and pencil
15.2 x 11.3 cm
(5.98" x 4.45")
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachussetts, United States)

Added: 2002-04-02
Dreams
Illustration to 'Siegfried', Act II

c1892-c1893
Indian ink and wash
40 x 28.6 cm
(15¾" x 11.26")
Victoria and Albert Museum (London, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-04-02
Illustration to 'Siegfried', Act II
How King Arthur Saw the Questing Beast

1893
Ink and wash drawing
38 x 27 cm
(14.96" x 10.63")
Victoria and Albert Museum (London, United Kingdom)

Added: 2002-04-02
How King Arthur Saw the Questing Beast
Isolde

1895
Lithograph in red, green, gray
Private collection

Added: 2002-04-02
Isolde