Aubrey Beardsley 1872 - 1898
A sickly, strange man with a child like fixation of sex, he produced illustrations that where darkly beautiful, erotic and grotesque. But there is an elegance and grace to them, its almost an illusion. So soft and graceful but when you look closer there are flowers shaped like penises and seductive temptress women looking villainous and sinful.
Beardsley worked with Oscar Wilde illustrating Salome, the twenty pieces of work he did for Wilde kick started Beardsley’s career and his name spread through London like wild fire. He was considered the high societies artist.
Creating ground breaking work captured the decadence of the society that had never been seen before, he was inspired by Japanese woodcuts, as well as French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (a man who spent his time in drinking absinthe in the Moulin Rouge).
When Wilde was arrested in 1895 for homosexual acts Beardsley’s reputation was destroyed. He spent the last few years of his life struggling to find work.
Beardsley died aged 25 of tuberculosis, which is heartbreakingly young. I can only dream of the work he could have created if he lived longer. In my eyes he’s one of the greatest illustrators who was taken too soon.