Weekend links 255

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The Owls by Carlo Farneti for a 1935 edition of Les Fleurs du Mal. Via Beautiful Century although the scans probably came originally from 50 Watts.

• “…a project that seemed under a curse comprising greed, peculiar French copyright laws, jealousies and grudges, bad judgment, complicated ownership disagreements, a messy estate, and a list of individuals who believed they had some legal, financial, moral, or artistic right to the film itself.” Josh Karp on the tangled history of The Other Side of the Wind, always the most interesting of Orson Welles’ unfinished feature films.

• Producer Conny Plank is remembered for his work with a host of German artists but he also recorded a session with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra in 1970. Grönland Records is releasing the session in July, and they’ve posted Afrique (take 3 vocal) as a taster.

• “And that’s what a lot of social media by authors is starting to look like, to feel like: being smacked in the face, repeatedly, by hundreds of fish.” Delilah S. Dawson wants authors to leave off the incessant self-promotion.

“In everybody, there is an inner bestiary,” she claimed, and her pictures are overrun with animals and animal-headed creatures; sometimes sinister, sometimes acting as guides to the unconscious, as in The Pomps of the Subsoil (1947). As her interests grew more hermetic her paintings abandoned all trace of the world beyond. If the figures occupy any sort of space it’s rarely more than the planes of a room in muted browns or greys, and in many the surface is overlaid with geometric patterns that seem to imply some mystical framework.

Alice Spawls on the art and life of Leonora Carrington

• “How a pro-domme, a Russian diplomat, US intelligence and Mary Tyler Moore’s landscaper conspired to create a dance classic.” Dave Tompkins on The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight.

• “Battersea, in fact, is a fairly simple climb, made ready by the builders who are destroying it.” Katherine Rundell on climbing Battersea Power Station at night.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 148 by Mlada Fronta, and The Ivy-Strangled Path, Volume V, by David Colohan.

Erté illustrates a gay romance in Lytton Strachey’s Ermyntrude and Esmeralda (1913 but not published until 1969).

• Dangerous Minds looks back at “The most unusual magazine ever published”, Man, Myth & Magic.

David Chase on the writing, directing and editing of the final scene of The Sopranos.

Magic Man (1969) by Caravan | The Myth (1982) by Giorgio Moroder | Magick Power (1987) by Opal

The art of Carlos Schwabe, 1866–1926

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Le Faune (1923).

Yesterday’s Pan prompted me to repost Carlos Schwabe’s wonderful painting of a faun, one of my favourite faun/satyr depictions, and easily one of the best in the entire Symbolist corpus. Other satyr aficionados of the period such as Arnold Böcklin and Franz Stuck had an unfortunate knack for making their goat gods look rather foolish.

Schwabe was a German artist, and one of the more mystical of the Symbolists, with a fondness for winged figures and a preoccupation with death. The mystical end of the Symbolist spectrum is the one I enjoy the most so I often point to Schwabe or Jean Delville as exemplars of this type of art. Both Schwabe and Delville were connected briefly by Joséphin Péladan’s very mystical Salon de la Rose + Croix although Delville later gravitated to Theosophy. Schwabe produced illustrations for an edition of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, and would have featured in the Baudelaire posts last week if some of those drawings hadn’t appeared here already. The title page was a new find, however, so it’s included below.

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Jour de morts (1890).

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La mort du fossoyeur (1895).

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Pierre-Yves Trémois’s Fleur du Mal

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A couple of works by Pierre-Yves Trémois appeared in one of the very first posts here back in 2006 as part of the feature that began the long-running Recurrent Pose series. I like Tremois’s work a great deal so it’s good to find these pages from his 1971 edition of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. There were ten illustrations in all, some of them in the clear-line etching style familiar from his many prints. The Tremois edition is unusual in having some (all?) the poems written out by the artist. He’s also one of the few illustrators to do justice to Baudelaire’s scandalous lesbian verses by showing women who actually seem attracted to one another. Earlier illustrators—if they depicted the theme at all—were much more coy.

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Victor Delhez’s Fleurs du Mal

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Another illustrated Baudelaire. Two editions that I might have featured in this series have already been posted in quality scans at 50 Watts: the 1935 Fleurs du Mal by Carlo Farnetti, and a 1947 edition by Beresford Egan, the latter being a good example of a well-matched artist and author.

The illustrations here are woodcuts once again, the artist being Victor Delhez (1902–1985), a Belgian who moved to South America. The 1950 Fleurs du Mal which featured these plates contained 20 illustrations in all but these are the only ones online. I hadn’t come across Delhez before but he was a prodigiously talented artist, as can be seen from the print collection at William P. Carl Fine Prints.

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Raphaël Drouart’s Fleurs du Mal

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It seems to be Fleurs du Mal Week here. Raphaël Drouart (1884–1972) was another French artist who specialised in woodcut illustrations. The pictures here are from a 1923 edition of Les Fleurs du Mal found on an auction site.

Despite (or because of) the scandalous nature of Baudelaire’s poetry, there are many illustrated editions of this particular collection, not all of them by artists suited to the material. This is often a common fate of those books whose popularity makes them a magnet for illustrators. One thing the various editions do have in common is the portrait of the poet as a frontispiece, although even there the author of Spleen can be made to look dopey or silly. By contrast, Raphaël Drouart captures the familiar scowl well enough, and also fares better than many when it comes to the poems. The combination of woodcuts and skeletons is reminiscent of Posada’s calaveras.

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