Excuse My Beauty

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With perfect timing, considering the illustrational direction of the week, David Siferd was in touch to pass on these drawings by Jesse James Johnson for Goddess, David’s unisex streetwear label. The drawings provide the decorative elements of a new collection, Excuse My Beauty, which will be launched later this week. David referred to Harry Clarke and Aubrey Beardsley as inspiration but the combination of figures, flowers and elegant line work reminds me of the enigmatic Didier Moreau. There’s more of Jesse James Johnson’s vibrant ink drawings at this Tumblr page.

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Harry Clarke and others in The Studio

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The Swing by Alan Odle.

The University of Heidelberg has for some time now had several years of British art magazine The Studio in its archive but I’ve yet to delve fully into the later issues. These illustrations are from two articles from the volumes covering the year 1925, both of which feature the exceptional Irish artist Harry Clarke. In the first piece Clarke is present along with two contemporaries, John Austen and Alan Odle; the second is a review by novelist Dorothy M. Richardson (Alan Odle’s wife) of Clarke’s illustrations for Goethe’s Faust. All three artists owed an artistic debt to Aubrey Beardsley, and an earlier number of The Studio features a drawing by John Austen of Scheherazade in his Beardsley-derived style. (Thanks to Nick for the tip!)

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Columbine by Harry Clarke.

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Atalanta in Calydon by John Austen.

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After Beardsley by Ryan Cho

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One of the posts last week concerned a swipe from Harry Clarke by an unknown illustrator. This Beardsley pastiche came to my attention shortly after the Clarke discovery, not a swipe but a deliberate exercise by American illustrator Ryan Cho in adopting the Beardsley style. It took some effort to trace the origin of Cho’s drawing since this is one of many similar works proliferating via Tumblr and Pinterest in which the credit goes to Beardsley himself. Cho’s exercise was one of a series following the styles of different artists and illustrators. In addition to another Beardsley drawing there’s also a couple of less successful attempts to pastiche Harry Clarke; having attempted a Clarke pastiche myself I can testify to the scale of the challenge. More of Ryan Cho’s work may be seen here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Aubrey Beardsley’s Keynotes
Antony Little’s echoes of Aubrey
Aubrey in LIFE
Beardsley reviewed
Aubrey Beardsley in The Studio
Ads for The Yellow Book
Beardsley and His Work
Further echoes of Aubrey
A Wilde Night
Echoes of Aubrey
After Beardsley by Chris James
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Beardsley’s Rape of the Lock
The Savoy magazine
Beardsley at the V&A
Merely fanciful or grotesque
Aubrey Beardsley’s musical afterlife
Aubrey by John Selwyn Gilbert
“Weirdsley Daubery”: Beardsley and Punch
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé

Copying Clarke

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“On to the brocken the witches are flocking.” From Faust (1925) by Harry Clarke.

Spotted earlier this week, a rather blatant swipe from Harry Clarke’s Faust by an unknown cover artist for the Avon Fantasy Reader. Such borrowings weren’t uncommon in the pulp magazines—the pressure of deadlines no doubt encouraged them—and I’ve logged a couple of other examples in the past, here and here. Clarke’s scene shows a crowd of his mutated witches flaunting themselves in a manner that was too strong for a fantasy magazine. The Avon cover is probably illustrating The Day of the Dragon (1934), a novelette by Guy Endore. Everything in this edition was a reprint, and among the contents there’s also The Yellow Sign by Robert Chambers.

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Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 2, 1947.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Harry Clarke’s Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
Harry Clarke in colour
The Tinderbox
Harry Clarke and the Elixir of Life
Cardwell Higgins versus Harry Clarke
Modern book illustrators, 1914
Illustrating Poe #3: Harry Clarke
Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke
Harry Clarke’s stained glass
Harry Clarke’s The Year’s at the Spring
The art of Harry Clarke, 1889–1931

René Gockinga revisited

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Presenting another guest post by Sander Bink concerning drawings by Dutch artists from the early decades of the 20th century, several of which show a distinct Beardsley influence. There’s also more than a little Harry Clarke in some of the details, especially the large Salomé picture below. Sander examines the provenance.

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In our ongoing research into the influence of Aubrey Beardsley and Carel de Nerée in Dutch art of the early twentieth century, René Gockinga must be one of the most elusive. We wrote about him earlier but in the meantime we spoke to someone who has known him in the latter years of his life (he died 1962 in Amsterdam), she could not tell us more about the whereabouts of his early Beardsley-esque works. His more traditional Indonesian paintings from the 1930s sometime turn up at auction and I have also seen some samples of his post-WWII abstract paintings.

But of course, it’s the early, ‘decadent’ work, we’re most interested in. The RKD (Netherlands Institute of Art History) has pictures of about five of these, for the time being, lost drawings. So the Klein portrait was of course a great find. We were quite content and never dreamed of finding more unknown Gockinga’s (we do not know the whereabouts of the Salomé reproduced in the earlier post).

So one can image our surprise when we recently received an email from an art lover from Florida who had stumbled upon three drawings by Gockinga. At an Atlanta, Georgia antique show of all places! But then again: Gockinga has lived in New York from 1924 till 1932 or possibly 1938. At some point he might have sold his early work?

However it is, these are great and as far as we know never before seen examples of a quite talented but also quite obscure and neglected Dutch artist from the period. I suspect the main reason for this neglect could be due to the nature of his work which was probably too homo-erotic and pornographic for the (Dutch) public. As far as we know, he only had one exhibition where his Beardsley- and De Nerée influenced work was shown. That took place summer 1917 at the d’Audretsch gallery, The Hague. This  gallery which owned a large collection of work by De Nerée and Gockinga must have seen his work there. Otherwise they could have seen his work someplace else at the early De Nerée exhibitions which took place 1910–1917.

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In the first drawing presented here the De Nerée influence is apparent in the use of the golden painted background, a technique De Nerée applied in several works from around 1903, like La Promeneuse (below; collection Meentwijck).

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