The art of Mahlon Blaine, 1894–1969


Nova Venus (1938).

I doubt that illustrator Mahlon Blaine featured in any of the scurrilous porn books in Franz Kafka’s collection—he would have been too young, for a start—but his erotic work isn’t so far removed from some of the artists of The Amethyst and Opals. As usual with obscure talents of this period it’s good to know that someone has already done the required legwork in assembling biographical details. The always reliable Bud Plant has a page about Mahlon Blaine’s life and work, and there’s also a website, The Outlandish Art of Mahlon Blaine. Blaine’s quality control is variable but there’s a trace of the usual suspects in many of these drawings, notably Harry Clarke and, occasionally, the etiolated shade of the Divine Aubrey. (Beardsley, to you.) Similarities too to contemporaries such as Wallace Smith and John Austen, both of whom owe a debt to Clarke and Beardsley. The drawing above comes from this gallery which is among the better sets available.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Kafka’s porn unveiled