Wildeana 2


Further flotsam from the wilds (so to speak) of the web. The above portrait is a collage constructed by this Flickr user with pages from The Picture of Dorian Gray as the raw material. A remarkable work.


Wilde’s face in the collage portrait comes from one of the famous photographs taken by Napoleon Sarony on the writer’s visit to America in 1882. Another of Sarony’s photographs was used as the basis for this cigar advert which sought to exploit Wilde’s fashionable notoriety. Possibly the first and last time that cigars have ever been offered for sale as “aesthetic”.

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Louis Rhead bookplates


Yet another Internet Archive discovery, examples from a small book collection from 1907 of ex libris plates by Art Nouveau illustrator Louis Rhead (1857–1926). Rhead’s brightly-coloured poster art is often represented in Art Nouveau design books, less visible is his black-and-white work, some of which, like the example below, owes a clear debt to Aubrey Beardsley.



Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Pratt Libraries Ex Libris Collection
The Evil Orchid Bookplate Contest
David Becket’s bookplates
Louis Rhead’s peacocks
More Arabian Nights
Buccaneers #1

Boy, O Boy by Julie Heffernan


Self Portrait as Great Scout Leader III (2010).

In which the artist changes sex on canvas for a new series of self-portraits and an exhibition aptly titled Boy, O Boy at P·P·O·W, New York. Three new paintings are on display all of which continue Heffernan’s fascination with self-portraits, miniature landscapes and accumulated objects, each presented in her customary super-detailed style. The gallery also has examples of her astonishing earlier work. Boy, O Boy runs from April 29 to June 5, 2010. Via Phantasmaphile.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Julie Heffernan

Nirvana and The Conquerors


All Of Us by Nirvana (1968).

Every now and then the web’s great proliferation of images serves a useful purpose by solving some minor artistic conundrum. All Of Us is the second album by UK psychedelic band Nirvana (no relation to Kurt and co.) and the striking cover painting—a long line of emperors and warriors from different ages parading down an avenue of corpses—is annoyingly uncredited. The notes for the 2003 CD reissue inform us that “Patrick had found, in an exhibition of Nazi art (in Bremen, Germany), a still shot from a propaganda film directed by Adolf Hitler’s favourite film-maker, Leni Riefenstahl.” Setting aside the bizarre use of such a picture by one of London’s more effete psychedelic groups, I wasn’t convinced that this was a Nazi-era painting. The style is more like a piece of Neoclassical academic art from the late 19th century, and that’s what it turns out to be.


Les Conquérants (1892) by Pierre Fritel. From this Flickr page.

It was a search for works by French academician George Antoine Rochegrosse that turned up a copy of the painting in Google Images. “Aha, it’s Rochegrosse, then!” thought I, only it wasn’t. The picture is entitled Les Conquérants and the artist responsible is one Pierre Fritel (1853–1942) about whom there’s very little information on the web. There is, however, a discussion here which details the painting’s symbolism:

Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, whose limits are obscured in darkness, advance, hollow-eyed and remorseful, the conquerors of all ages, marching in close ranks between a double row of corpses, stripped and rigid, lying packed close together with their feet toward the procession. In the center of the van rides Julius Caesar, whom Shakespeare has pronounced “the foremost man of all this world.” On his right are the Egyptian called by the Greeks Sesostris, now known to be Rameses II., Attila, “the Scourge of God,” Hannibal the Carthaginian, and Tamerlane the Tartar. On his left march Napoleon, the last world-conqueror, Alexander of Macedon, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, that “head of gold” in the great image seen in his vision as interpreted by the prophet Daniel, and Charlemagne, who restored the fallen Roman Empire.

There’s a follow-up discussion on MetaFilter where a commenter makes the Nirvana connection, and the Internet Archive even has the catalogue for the Salon of 1892 which lists the painting’s first public appearance. See a larger monochrome version here. The only mystery now is the whereabouts of the painting itself. Artnet tells us it was sold in 1988, and they have a poor quality colour photo of the picture (below) which looks a lot less dramatic than the moody monochrome reproductions. If anyone knows the current location of Fritel’s canvas, please leave a comment.


Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Vasili Vereshchagin, 1842–1904

Danseur Noble


The Adam Kozik Studio was in touch earlier this week with news of Danseur Noble, a photo-series of male dancers posed indoors and out. See the rest of the series here.


Previously on { feuilleton }
The tights have it
Eonism and Eonnagata
Tiger Lily
Chris Nash
Peter Reed and Salomé After Dark
Felix D’Eon
Dancers by John Andresen
Youssef Nabil
Images of Nijinsky