More from the Decadent Dutch


Illustration by Otto Verhagen from Yolanda – Het Boek van Bloei (1931) by Nan Copijn.

Would-be Decadents is perhaps a better label, the Decadent ship having set sail across an absinthe-tinted sea by the time these artists were putting pen to paper. Their drawings are another set of scarce images forwarded by Sander Bink who maintains the Rond1900 site. (See this earlier post for further examples.) Sandor also sent artwork details which I’ve quoted below. In addition to yet more overt Beardsley influence (the Verhagen above and René Gockinga’s woman with a candle) there’s also a striking Harry Clarke influence in the second Gockinga drawing which is closer to Clarke’s idiosyncratic style than (for example) these later drawings by Cardwell Higgins. Seeing one artist borrow the mannerisms of another is a common thing; far less common is finding an artist who adopts different styles the way Gockinga does. Incidentally, the Couperin novel mentioned below was published with a typically elegant cover design by Symbolist artist Jan Toorop.

(Thanks again Sander!)


Otto Verhagen. Illustration (not used as such) for Couperus’ Psyche (1898). Engraving, ca 1913. Collection Sander Bink. This is a personage from the story but to me it looks somewhat like an Oscar Wilde portrait!
Illustration for the very popular fairy tale for adults Psyche by Louis Couperus (1863–1923). You might have heard of Couperus: Oscar Wilde appreciated his decadent, somewhat homosexual, novel Noodlot (1890), translated as Footsteps of fate. Some letters were exchanged. Couperus’ wife Elisabeth translated Dorian Gray in 1893. (First Dutch translation.)


Sortie (1904) by Carel de Nerée tot Babberich. Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem (from De Neree catalogue, 1986). Verhagen’s Dorian Gray seems to be influenced by this.


Woman with candle by René Gockinga, ca 1916. Current location unknown.


Indonesian lady dancing [as I call it—SB] by René Gockinga. From the Indonesian satirical-political periodical De Zweep [The Whip] 1922.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Further echoes of Aubrey
A Wilde Night
Echoes of Aubrey
After Beardsley by Chris James
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
The art of Karel de Nerée tot Babberich, 1880–1909
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

Ver Sacrum, 1902


Continuing the series of posts about Ver Sacrum, the art journal of the Viennese Secession. The volume of issues for 1902 maintains the same format as the previous year, beginning with a series of calendar pages then proceeding to showcase art, sculpture and graphics from Austria and elsewhere. The Secession exhibitions in Vienna were a highlight of this year, something explored in greater detail in the pages of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration. Also in these issues is more Symbolist art, this time from Jan Toorop and Franz Stuck. Among the latter’s drawings and paintings there’s a version of his popular temptress-with-serpent theme here entitled The Vice. (Stuck’s The Sin is the most reproduced of this series.) I hadn’t seen this one before which is surprising seeing as it’s his only (?) horizontal treatment of the theme.

As before, anyone wishing to see more can browse all 412 pages or download the entire volume here.



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Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #24


Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. Volume 24 covers the period from April 1909 to September 1909, and this is the penultimate edition that I’ll be posting samples from. The checkerboard designs of the Wiener Werkstätte are still being featured in this number but the focus here is on pictorial works rather than interior design. As before, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail is advised to download the entire number at the Internet Archive. There’ll be a final volume of DK&D next week.



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Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #4


Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. There isn’t a volume 3 in the Internet Archive collection, hence the jump in the series to volume 4 which covers the period from April–September 1899. This edition features a few more familiar names beginning with artist and illustrator Heinrich Vogeler whose illustrated edition of Oscar Wilde stories was featured here last year. Vogeler’s work isn’t always to my taste although I liked his Wilde drawings; the Tod und Alte piece above is an exception to his usual work of this period rather than the rule. Elsewhere there’s a feature on the graphic designs of Paul Bürck, a profile of Dutch Symbolist Jan Toorop and a report on the Dresden art exhibition of 1899 which includes an array of beautiful Art Nouveau interiors. As with all such idealised exhibition displays, they point the way to a future that was never to be.

More DK&D next week.



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The art of Karel de Nerée tot Babberich, 1880–1909


Judith (no date).

Another Decadent type who died young, de Nerée was a Dutch artist and illustrator whose work in these pictures owes a great deal to Aubrey Beardsley. As Beardsley-influenced pieces go they’re rather crude, although it’s unfair to be too judgemental since there’s so little of his work available to see online. Following yesterday’s post, it’s inevitable that he produced a Salomé picture of his own but there’s no sign of that, the curiously space-age (or alien) Judith above is the closest you’ll get.


Introduction to Extaze (1900-01).

On the strength of these drawings I’d probably have de Nerée down as a post-Beardsley pasticheur similar to Alastair (aka Hans Henning Voigt) but there’s another side to his output evident in his painted works which show a far more assured Symbolist style, with a figurative approach closer to another Dutch artist of the period, Jan Toorop. It’s a shame the photos there are little more than snapshots, I’d like to see more of these. The Wikipedia article has a couple more drawings, and there’s another Beardsley-esque piece here.


La musique (1904).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrator’s archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
More decorated books from the Netherlands