The art of Jens Lund, 1871–1924

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Sakuntala, 1900.

Jens Lund was a Danish artist and illustrator with an idiosyncratic drawing style that not only sets him apart from many of his contemporaries but looks forward to the stylisations of younger artists like Beresford Egan. Several of the examples here are illustrations and sketches for an unpublished edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems. Lund also illustrated Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, and Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach (which he translated into Danish with his wife, Bolette) but copies of these aren’t as easy to find.

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Anraabelse, 1906.

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Scent that sings… Flames that laugh, 1903–04.

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Fantasy Landscape with Palms, 1899.

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Fireball, 1899.

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George Barbier’s Imaginary Lives

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It’s always satisfying when one perennial subject here connects to another. Imaginary Lives is a story collection by Symbolist writer Marcel Schwob that George Barbier lavishly illustrated in a new edition published in 1929. Wikipedia has a précis which conveniently explains the connection:

Imaginary Lives (original French title: Vies imaginaires) is a collection of twenty-two semi-biographical short stories by Marcel Schwob, first published in book form in 1896. Mixing known and fantastical elements, it was one of the first works in the genre of biographical fiction. The book is an acknowledged influence in Jorge Luis Borges’s first book A Universal History of Infamy (1935). Borges also translated the last story “Burke and Hare, Assassins” into Spanish.

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This is one of the best of Barbier’s illustrated editions, and the only one which allows him to combine his favoured references to the graphic styles of the ancient world with those of later centuries. The nude figures are also more explicitly detailed than in his earlier drawings, something only seen previously in his illustrations for an overtly erotic title, Les Chansons de Bilitis by Pierre Louÿs. The final full-page illustration is a further departure for the generally light-hearted Barbier, a drawing that so closely resembles something from Edgar Allan Poe it makes me wish he might have attempted a Poe edition of his own.

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Empedocles, Supposed God.

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Erostate, Incendiary.

Continue reading “George Barbier’s Imaginary Lives”

Weekend links 574

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Poster for Beauty and the Beast (1978) by Josef Vyletal.

• Next month, Second Run release Juraj Herz’s 1978 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast on region-free blu-ray. I watched this last year on a Czech DVD so it’s good to hear it’s being given an upgrade. Herz’s film is a distinctly sinister take on the familiar tale, with a bird-headed Beast that’s closer to Max Ernst than anything you’ll find in illustrations for Perrault’s stories.

• “In a coincidence so unlikely it almost seems, well, magical, the girls traced illustrations from a book of folklore that also contained a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, a reflection of a reflection of a reflection.” Audrey Wollen on the Cottingley fairy photographs. Related: The Coming of the Fairies by Arthur Conan Doyle.

• “[Mark E. Smith], with his love of Stockhausen, HP Lovecraft, and (bizarrely) the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, becomes a reverse coder, an apostle of avant pulp, a ‘paperback shaman’.” Sukhdev Sandhu reviews Excavate! The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, edited by Tessa Norton and Bob Stanley.

• “Found photos of men in love from 1850–1950“. Maybe. As before, I’m always cautious about imposing a narrative on old photographs.

• Mixes of the week: A mix for The Wire by Pamela Z, and a dose of post-punk esoterica by Moin for XLR8R.

DJ Food takes another dive into back issues of International Times in search of ads for London’s Middle Earth club.

• At The Smart Set: Colin Fleming watches John Bowen’s drama of pastoral horror, Robin Redbreast.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Heavily plotted non-linear structures whose velocity lacks narrative drive.

Ryan Gilbey attempts to rank Robert Altman’s features into a list of 20 best.

• Still Farther South: Poe and Pym’s Suggestive Symmetries by John Tresch.

• New music: At One Point by Scorn.

Visionist‘s favourite albums.

The Beast (1956) by Milt Buckner | Leggo Beast (1978) by Gregory Isaac’s All Stars | This Beast (1983) by Tuxedomoon

Frazetta and Poe

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Art by Frank Frazetta, lettering by Gail Smith.

Frank Frazetta wasn’t an artist you’d usually associate with a literary master like Edgar Allan Poe. With the exception of an idiosyncratic Lord of the Rings portfolio most of the books that Frazetta illustrated were by Robert E. Howard or Edgar Rice Burroughs. The page above is from a series of drawings in issue 8 of Witzend magazine that accompany the text of Poe’s The City in the Sea. There’s no editorial comment to explain the origin of this piece but Frazetta’s drawings, which depict the sole survivor of a plane crash, look like they may have been intended for something else entirely, there’s no connection with the poem apart from the coastal setting. Witzend was an odd and interesting magazine that was founded by Wallace Wood to accommodate pieces like this one which might not have an outlet elsewhere. Frazetta had a drawing in the first issue in 1966; issue 8 appeared in 1972 by which time the magazine had a different publisher and editor but continued to feature work by Wood and his friends. The whole run is very worthwhile, even issue 9 which departed from the usual form to devote the entire number to the films of WC Fields.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Frank Frazetta, 1928–2010
Frazetta: Painting with Fire
Fantastic art from Pan Books

Weekend links 569

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City with Eyes in Blue (1989) by Paul Lehr.

• “Lehr chose science fiction illustration because he saw it as a path to making a living and an opportunity to ‘depict the epic’. ‘War, destruction, celebration, congestion, marching armies, waving flags and banners—the strange and mysterious atmosphere of it all, rather than the literal illustration.'” Jane Frank on the art of Paul Lehr (1930–1998).

• “Time isn’t the only thing Harrison treats as firmly malleable. The same is true of his willingness to play with genre conventions…” Tobias Carroll on M. John Harrison, and an article where you have to ignore the clickbait clichés in the headline.

• The narrators for the forthcoming audiobook of Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore have been revealed.

• At Public Domain Review: A remembrance of aerial forms: Odilon Redon’s À Edgar Poe.

• The weight of the ritual: Frank Rynne on The Master Musicians of Joujouka.

• “Cerne Giant in Dorset dates from Anglo-Saxon times, analysis suggests.

Aaron Moth, the artist creating exquisite collages from vintage [gay] porn.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins on revision in illustration.

• At Wikimedia Commons: Lesbian pulp fiction.

• Mix of the week: A Wire mix by BLK JKS.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Psychedelics.

Colleen‘s favourite albums.

Ritual Fire Dance (1969) by Tuesday’s Children | Ritual (1973) by Vangelis | Rituals (1981) by Bush Tetras