Aubrey Beardsley

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Aubrey Beardsley

English , Aesthetic, Golden Age Illustrator printmaker

Born 8/24/1872 - Died 3/16/1898

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Illustration to 'Siegfried', Act II

circa 1892-circa 1893

Indian ink and wash

40 x 28.6 cms | 15 1/2 x 11 1/4 ins

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom

How King Arthur Saw the Questing Beast

1893

Ink and wash drawing

38 x 27 cms | 14 3/4 x 10 1/2 ins

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom

How Morgan Le Fay Gave a Shield to Sir Tristram

1893-1894

Indian ink

27 x 21.1 cms | 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 ins

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, United Kingdom

How Sir Tristram Drank of the Love Drink

1893-1894

Indian ink and pencil

28.2 x 21.2 cms | 11 x 8 1/4 ins

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States

Virgilius the Sorcerer

1893

Indian ink

22.8 x 13.8 cms | 8 3/4 x 5 1/4 ins

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, United States

Dreams

1894

Indian ink and pencil

15.2 x 11.3 cms | 5 3/4 x 4 1/4 ins

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States

The Peacock Skirt

1894

Indian ink

22.7 x 16 cms | 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 ins

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States

Isolde

1895

Lithograph in red, green, gray

Private collection, ,

Venus between Terminal Gods

1895

Indian ink touched with white

22.5 x 17.8 cms | 8 3/4 x 7 ins

Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford, United Kingdom

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Mode

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.