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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the ‘fin de siècle’ tag

 

The art of Melchior Lechter, 1865–1937

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The first issue of yesterday’s arts and crafts magazine Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration includes an article about Melchior Lechter, a German artist and designer whose illustration work I knew from books by gay poet Stefan George but who seems unjustly neglected by fin de siècle art histories. The reminder prompted me to search a bit […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art nouveau}, {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators}, {religion} | 1 comment »

 


Jugend, 1896

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So, then, I’ve now looked through several thousand pages of Jugend magazine and a few things have become apparent. If you’re interested in fin de siècle art and design then all the most interesting material is in the first four years of the magazine’s run, from 1896 on. After 1900 there are still examples of […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {black and white}, {design}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {symbolists} | 9 comments »

 


Bradley does Beardsley

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Browsing various bookbinding sites this week turned up a gorgeous cover design I hadn’t seen before by the great Will Bradley (1868–1962). The Beardsley influence is unmistakable, of course, and more pronounced than one usually sees in Bradley’s work. Richard Le Gallienne is a familiar name to scholars of the London fin de siècle scene […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {beardsley}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »

 


Tite Street then and now

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This LIFE magazine photo of Oscar Wilde’s home at 34 Tite Street, Chelsea, is fascinating for Wilde aficionados in being a far more detailed view of the “House Beautiful” exterior than one ever finds in books about the writer. No information as to when it was taken but from the look of the print it […]

Posted in {architecture}, {books}, {gay}, {magazines}, {photography} | 4 comments »

 


Art Nouveau Revival 1900 . 1933 . 1966 . 1974

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It was the slightly gamy residue of the super-elegant and exotic pictures of Aubrey Beardsley. I have always considered the 1900 period as the psycho-analytical end-product of the Greco-Roman Decadence. I said to myself: Since these people will not hear of aesthetics and are capable of becoming excited only over “vital agitations”, I shall show […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {design} | 4 comments »

 


Beardsley at the V&A

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This battered item is my copy of the V&A guide to the landmark Aubrey Beardsley exhibition held at the museum from May to September 1966. That exhibition introduced Beardsley to a new public and made his work very trendy for a while, helped by the Beardsley-styled sleeve of the Beatles’ Revolver album which was released […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »

 


Through the Wonderwall

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It’s taken me years but the recent obsession with UK psychedelia led me to finally watch Joe Massot’s piece of cinematic fluff from 1968, Wonderwall, a film distinguished primarily for its score by George Harrison (with Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton playing pseudonymously), and its title which was swiped years later by a bunch of […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {psychedelia} | 5 comments »

 


L’Androgyne

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L’Androgyne by Alexandre Séon (1890). Related to yesterday’s post, I’ve been re-reading various books this week for details of the most curious character associated with the French Symbolist movement, novelist and occultist Joséphin Péladan (1859–1918), also known as Sâr Peladan, a Babylonian title he bestowed upon himself as more befitting his adopted role as Rosicrucian […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {eye candy}, {fashion}, {gay}, {occult}, {painting}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »

 


Merely fanciful or grotesque

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Thus the judgement of a reviewer examining Aubrey Beardsley’s work in The Graphic for May 23, 1896. The work in question was Beardsley’s Rape of the Lock illustrations being unveiled for the first time in the second number of The Savoy, the magazine which Beardsley co-founded with Arthur Symons and Leonard Smithers as a rival […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {black and white}, {illustrators}, {magazines} | 3 comments »

 


The Great God Pan

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Pan teaching Daphnis to play the panpipes; Roman copy of a Greek original from the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE by Heliodoros. “The worship of Pan never has died out,” said Mortimer. “Other newer gods have drawn aside his votaries from time to time, but he is the Nature-God to whom all must come back at last. […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {beardsley}, {books}, {burroughs}, {design}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {music}, {occult}, {religion}, {sculpture}, {symbolists} | 13 comments »

 


Butterfly women

The Flapper by Frank X Leyendecker, Life magazine (1922). When I posted this splendid cover last July I said that I ought to make a post of Butterfly Women, so here is one. Don’t expect this to be at all comprehensive, women with butterfly wings are as legion as mermaids, these are merely a couple […]

Posted in {art}, {fashion}, {film}, {illustrators}, {miscellaneous}, {painting} | 4 comments »

 


Ma Petite Ville

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A typically splendid fin de siècle cover design by Léon Rudnicki for an 1898 volume of childhood memoirs by Jean Lorrain (1855–1906). The author was a flamboyantly homosexual poet, novelist and journalist whose addiction to ether and other excesses ended his life at the age of 50. Philippe Jullian is quoted on glbtq.com as saying […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {books}, {design}, {gay}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »

 


Le Sphinx Mystérieux

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Le Sphinx Mystérieux (1897). Charles van der Stappen’s most impressive sculptural work and one I missed including in this earlier post. Van der Stappen doesn’t seem to have done anything else like this which is a shame as it’s a very iconic fin de siècle image, conveying a sense of enigma without resorting to the […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {sculpture}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »

 


The faces of Parsifal

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Parsifal by Jean Delville (1890). Continuing the occasional series of posts examining the evolution of a particular design or image, this one begins with a mystical charcoal drawing by Belgian Symbolist, Jean Delville (1867–1953), our object of concern being that entranced or dreaming face. My first encounter with Delville’s image wasn’t via the original but […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {fantasy}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {lovecraft}, {painting}, {psychedelia}, {symbolists} | 5 comments »

 


The Feminine Sphinx

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Colette. Work this week designing a CD of readings from Colette had me searching books for pictures of the author. Of the few I found this is the most interesting, one of several Colette portraits made by photographer Leopold Reutlinger and one of at least two from 1907 which Colette used to promote her Moulin […]

Posted in {art}, {dance}, {gay}, {painting}, {photography}, {symbolists}, {theatre} | 3 comments »

 


The skull beneath the skin

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All Is Vanity by Charles Allan Gilbert (1892). The surreptitious skull is another of those perennial motifs that recur in art from time to time and one which has become especially prevalent since the late 19th century. There seem to be a number of reasons for this, the most obvious being that if you’re going […]

Posted in {art}, {comics}, {fashion}, {film}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {surrealism}, {work} | 8 comments »

 


Le Monstre

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Continuing the theme of the fin de siècle feminine, there’s this bizarre (undated) piece by Marcel Lenoir representing…what? A witch? Some demoness? Or woman in general? Considering the often overt misogyny of the period, the latter interpretation is quite possible; there were more than enough artists prepared to see women as the foundation of all […]

Posted in {art}, {illustrators}, {magazines} | 4 comments »

 


The Divine Sarah

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Sarah Bernhardt by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1895). You can’t be a fin de siècle fetishist and not develop a fascination with actress Sarah Bernhardt, a woman who was muse to many of the era’s finest artists, most notably Alphonse Mucha, who she employed as her official designer. Mucha’s marvellous posters are endlessly popular, of course; less […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {design}, {fashion}, {sculpture}, {theatre} | 7 comments »

 


Empusa

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The Empusae, we’re told, were daughters of Hecate in Greek mythology, sent to harass the unwary traveller on lonely roads, as if travellers on lonely roads didn’t have enough to worry about from human malefactors. The sinister femme fatale of mythology was a popular subject among fin de siècle artists which perhaps explains why Carl […]

Posted in {art} | 3 comments »

 


The art of Philippe Wolfers, 1858–1929

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Maléficia (1905). Much of the jewellery and sculpture produced by Phillipe Wolfers demonstrates the tendency of Art Nouveau and decorative Symbolism to evolve from Decadence to full-blown Gothic. The sinister recurs in Wolfers’ creations whether in the form of baleful females such as Malèficia and his Medusa pendant, or in the shape of bats, insects […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {design}, {fashion}, {sculpture}, {symbolists} | 4 comments »

 


 




 

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