The art of Henricus Jansen, 1867–1921

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This week’s post is another by Sander Bink about a neglected artist of the Dutch fin de siècle. Once again, this is an artist whose work was new to me. The Mucha-like style of the later pictures (and the one above from the same series) are especially good. My thanks again to Sander for the post.

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Henricus Jansen (1867–1921) was a Dutch painter, graphic artist and illustrator who used ‘Henricus’ as his artist’s name, ‘Jansen’ being a very common and decidedly unsexy surname. He originated from The Hague where Art Nouveau and symbolism flourished in the 1890s more than any other Dutch city.

In the little that has been written about Henricus he is usually considered not to be avant-garde or progressive enough to be an ‘important artist’ (whatever that may mean). He is, however, mentioned in the standard reference work Symbolism in Dutch Art by Polak from 1955. Extensive studies have never been published about him and my main source of information about his life and work is an unpublished university thesis from 1988 by Louis Baeten of which I happen to have a copy. Baeten had spoken to Henricus’s daughter who was then still alive. According to the thesis Henricus must have made hundreds of drawings and paintings but they seem to be quite rare nowadays and seldom come to auction.

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For example, Henricus visited Tunisia in 1901 where Baeten says he produced more than 67 pastels and drawings of which “only seven survive”. These were exhibited in The Hague in 1901, and Leiden in 1907. One of these is depicted here from a private collection: a charming, somewhat cartoon-like ink drawing of three Tunisian male figures.

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From 1887 till 1892 Henricus lived in Paris where he mingled in the bohemian and artistic circles around Le Chat Noir, and knew people like Rodolphe Salis and Paul Verlaine. The drawings and illustrations he produced from around 1890 are strongly influenced by Parisian graphic artists like Steinlen, Grasset and Willette, uncommon models in Dutch art of the 1890s. Examples like the drawing of a lady in an antique market (above) are to be found in his illustrations for a book by Johan Gram, ‘s-Gravenhage in onzen tijd (The Hague nowadays) from 1893.

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More Symbolist in style, and therefore probably more of interest to { feuilleton } readers, are his illustrations for the popular magazine Elsevier’s. The picture shown here is a lithograph he made for the poem ‘Paulinus van Nola’ by the Flemish poet Pol de Mont, published in 1895.

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But his chef d’oeuvre is a series of lithographs inspired by the medieval folk song Heer Halewijn (Lord Halewijn), published in 1904 and exhibited in The Hague the same year, of which three are depicted here (from the collection Van der Peppel.) The most famous of the series is plate number sixteen in which Lord Halewijn’s head is decapitated by a charming lady. It is obviously inspired by Beardsley’s Salomé but is made with an entirely different technique and in colours. There is also a touch of Puvis de Chavannes and Carlos Schwabe to them. They are among the finest examples of Dutch fin de siècle graphic art.

Sander Bink

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Antoon van Welie, 1866–1956
The art of Simon Moulijn, 1866–1948
René Gockinga revisited
Gockinga’s Bacchanal and an unknown portrait of Fritz Klein
More from the Decadent Dutch

Weekend links 427

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Inside an O’Neill Cylinder, an orbital megastructure. Painting by Don Davis, 1975.

• RIP Lindsay Kemp: dancer, actor, choreographer and (if we have to drop names) mentor to David Bowie and Kate Bush. Kemp’s work has been featured here on a number of occasions, particularly his landmark productions of an all-male Salomé, and Flowers, A Pantomime for Jean Genet. There was also considerable overlap with Kemp’s troupe and the films of Derek Jarman via appearances by Kemp himself, David Haughton and the irrepressible Jack Birkett. The Genet production was filmed in 1982, and is now available on DVD. (There’s also a rougher copy with unmatched audio and video.) From 1970: Pierrot in Turquoise, or The Looking Glass Murders, a Commedia dell’arte performance for Scottish TV featuring David Bowie. And reversing roles, Mick Rock’s video for Bowie’s John, I’m Only Dancing featuring Kemp and company.

• At Expanding Mind: Erik Davis in conversation with activist and writer David Nickles about “the DMT Nexus, psychedelic militancy, extraction tek, the Statement on Open Science for Psychedelic Medicines, MAPS, and the trouble with for-profit psilocybin companies”.

• From the end of August to January 2019: Spellbound at the Ashmolean; “Spellbinding stories, fascinating objects…from crystal balls and magic mirrors to witch bottles and curse poppets”.

On Earth, as on the International Space Station, the collective misperception of a flat plane helps build community and culture. We are all equal in our geometric relationship to one another. The reality, of course, is that we do not stand parallel. Each of our bodies corresponds with a distinct radial vector on the surface of a sphere, pointing away from a common center that we can never perceive or occupy. Our vectors diverge by imperceptible angles.

In “inside-out” worlds like the Bernal Sphere and the concave Earth, the situation is reversed. Our feet all point outward, into an inaccessible, but technologically habitable void, while our heads point inward, some of us apparently “upside-down.” Standing, we rise toward a visible center, which can be reached simply by climbing a hill, strapping on wings, and jumping into the air, as low-tech as Icarus.

The Shape of Space by Fred Scharmen

Michael Moorcock again, interviewed this time by Bernard Braden in 1968. I think this one was for a Braden TV series which was never broadcast.

• “Stupid things are best”: Neil Fox on Conny Plank: The Potential of Noise, a documentary about the great music producer.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 556 by Helios, and An Ode to Eris with An Other Ode to Eris by The Ephemeral Man.

• A monstrous primer on the works of HP Lovecraft by Emma Stefansky. With illustrations by Michael Bukowski.

Silent Agents by Julius-Christian Schreiner: photographs of hostile architecture from around the world.

• Back to the Futuro: Mark Hodgkinson on the spaceship house that landed in Yorkshire.

• The Great Chinese Art Heist by Alex W. Palmer.

Rhizome: a new recording by Drew McDowall.

The Starman Tarot

Mad Pierrot (1978) by Yellow Magic Orchestra | Spellbound (1981) by Siouxsie And The Banshees | Sphere (2011) by Emptyset

Aubrey Beardsley and His World

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This US TV programme isn’t the greatest quality, and it’s blighted throughout with a large watermark, but it’s a revelatory piece both for Aubrey Beardsley enthusiasts and Oscar Wilde aficionados. Camera Three was a CBS arts show which presented Aubrey Beardsley and His World on 12th March, 1967, as a preview for the Beardsley exhibition which had just opened in New York. This was the same landmark exhibition that made such a splash the year before at the V&A in London, and V&A curator Brian Reade appears in the programme to discuss Beardsley’s importance with host James Macandrew. It’s good to see Reade again (he was also in a later BBC documentary) since his Beardsley monograph is a great favourite of mine; as is typical of the period, he looks and sounds very upper class but his scholarship is always authoritative.

Ordinarily this would be enough to satisfy me, even though the programme only runs for 27 minutes and doesn’t tell me anything about Aubrey that I didn’t know already. The great revelation comes near the end with the appearance of Vyvyan Holland, the younger son of Oscar Wilde. Holland not only admired Beardsley’s work but actually met him in 1895 shortly before the artist’s untimely death. Holland was 9 years old at the time, and was taken to visit Aubrey by his mother; he was 81 in 1967, and died himself later that year so we’re very fortunate that he was captured on tape at all. The programme also includes a short extract from Alla Nazimova’s 1923 film of Salomé, with costumes and decor all based on Beardsley’s drawings. Watch it here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
After Beardsley by Ryan Cho
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

Weekend links 406

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Ways Of Seeing will be the next release by The Advisory Circle on the Ghost Box label, and with metallic gold cover art by Julian House.

• “The structure came to Argento while he was tripping on some good acid, a fevered dream logic piecing everything together. […] ‘People came running out, screaming, telling people in the queue “Don’t go in! Don’t go in! It’s all witches!” It just made everyone in line want to get in even more… it was amazing.'” Ben Cobb talks to Dario Argento about the making of a horror masterpiece, Suspiria.

• Mixes of the week: The Wire Playlist by Mary Halvorson, XLR8R Podcast 535 by Sofie, and Out of the Wood Show 93 by Robin The Fog.

• Death by Balloon: Chris Mautner on the horrifying and hilarious world of comic artist Junji Ito.

Look, any honest estimation of the new translation, by Michael Hofmann, of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz from NYRB Classics is bound to begin with duteous piety, lauding it, since it is a one-and-done masterpiece that’s basically impossible to oversell, as (why not) the single biggest event in publishing in a lifetime, a crucial refurbishment of something English-language readers have been missing out on for a century, and a long-missing piece of Modernism’s ponderous jigsaw. All of which is the case of course. But when we’re talking about a dense, all-but-untranslatable Weimar-era novel, whose only point of reference for Anglophone audiences until now has been Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s meticulous fifteen-hour adaptation from 1980 (one heck of a tease) it feels important to attempt a slight rescue from its own forbidding reputation, because Alexanderplatz is less a book than a living thing, and one that joyously resists the dust heap of bourgeois literary scholarship with its every line.

JW McCormack on the new translation of Alfred Döblin’s Modernist classic

Section 28 protesters 30 years on: “We were arrested and put in a cell up by Big Ben”.

Angelique Kidjo talks reinventing Talking Heads’ Remain In Light on new LP.

• The hidden lives of gay men in the Middle East: photographs by Hoda Afshar.

Al Pacino’s journey with Wilde’s Salomé.

Tenebrous Kate

• Are You Seeing (1969) by Ora | Seeing Out The Angel (1981) by Simple Minds | Sine Seeing (2014) by The Advisory Circle

The poster art of Raymond Gid

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Dresch (1928).

This weekend I was rewatching Henri-Georges Clouzot’s superb thriller, Les Diaboliques (1954) after which I went searching for the equally superb posters by Raymond Gid (1905–2000). I hadn’t really looked at the rest of Gid’s work before so this post remedies the situation with a selection from some of the many examples available online. Gid was something of a French equivalent to Saul Bass, working as a poster artist for feature films while also producing designs for advertising; like Bass he took charge of the typography as well as the illustration, always a useful thing for a poster artist. Typographies (1998), his book on the subject, is still in print.

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Vampyr (1932).

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Dr. NG Payot (1938).

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Quelque part en Europe (1948).

Continue reading “The poster art of Raymond Gid”