The first biography for 15 years of Aubrey Beardsley (1872–98), one of the greatest – and most distinctive – artistic geniuses Britain has produced: a quintessential figure of the ‘naughty nineties’, a defining figure of the fin-de-siècle and notorious friend of Oscar Wilde and Max Beerbohm.
Beardsley’s infamous reputation, brief tragic life (he died of tuberculosis aged 25) and instantly recognisable style make him one of the key figures of the Modern Age.
His erotic, decadent, black-and-white illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salome set the tone of his style: shocking, facetious and cruel. His illustrations for The Yellow Book and The Savoy made them famous, before he fell from grace following the Wilde scandal.
Born in Brighton in 1872 of lower middle-class parents, he spent a miserable year in a London insurance office before being ‘discovered’ by Edward Burne-Jones.
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When Aubrey died in 1989, he was aged only 25. In his short but crowded career he had become one of the defining figures of the fin-de-siecle – a precocious draughtsman who redefined the limits of black-and-white art. His erotic, decadent illustrations for Oscar Wilde's 'Salome' set the tone for his style: by turns shocking, facetious and cruel.
Beloved by Burne-Jones, cursed by William Morris, he was the intimate of Wilde, the rival of Whistler, the friend of Beerbohm, Sickert, Ada Leverson and William Rothenstein. His deliberate manipulation of press and public, his awareness of both art and the market-place, made him one of the first truly modern artists.
" Thoroughly researched, balanced . . evenly paced. . Sturgis writes with a poise and knowledge of the 1890s that inspire the reader with confidence."
RICHARD DORMENT, 'Times Literary Supplement'
"Lavishly illustrated . . . It is Sturgis's accomplishment to have created a fascinating narrative from a life which was short, feverish (in every sense) and packed with artistic achievement."
MICHAEL ARDITTI, 'Daily Mail'
"An excellent piece of work, written with a light, slightly arch tone that exactly suits the subject."
MARTIN GAYFORD, 'Sunday Telegraph'
"Immensely well-researched and sensitively written . . .His is now the full biography of Beardsley that the general reader needs and will most enjoy."
TOM ROSENTHAL, 'Times Higher Educational Supplement'
"A haunting image of the artist, at once poignant and defiant"
PETER PARKER, 'Daily Telegraph'
Matthew Sturgis read history at Oxford, worked for four years in publishing, and since then has made his living by writing – art criticism for Harpers & Queen, travel pieces for the Sunday Telegraph, and book reviews for the Independent. His cartoons have been published in the Oldie and the Daily Mail. His previous book, Passionate Attitudes: The English Decadence of the 1890s, was published in 1995 by Macmillan.
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Book Description Harper Collins, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 6550568
Book Description Harper Collins, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110006550568