Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde claimed to have discovered Aubrey Beardsley, when he asked him to illustrate his Salome. However, many people have claimed the same thing. Author Robert Ross on the other hand, thinks that Beardsley really started with the men with whom his work will always be associated. The men he worked with on the Yellow Book. (Aubrey Beardsley, p.14).
Aubrey was born on the twenty-first of August 1872, in Brighton England. He was a quiet reserved child of an upper middle class family. He showed as a child very little caring for his lessons. However, he always showed an aptitude for drawing. Beardsley’s father through very unfortunate circumstances lost his inherited fortune. Beardsley at this time suffered from Tuberculosis; this was what eventually caused his death. His mother also became ill and was unable to take care of both him and his sister. Therefore, they were sent off to live with an old aunt. Their lives there was lonely and Aubrey developed a taste for reading as well as drawing. His aunt placed him in a boarding school where he indulged in his talent by drawing caricatures of his teachers. In July 1888 he left the school and started working in an architect’s office. Beardsley wanted to enter the art world. He accomplished this in an incident, which became famous. It occurred when he was invited to see the studio of painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The artist was impressed by the drawings in Beardsley’s portfolio, and recommended that he attend night classes at the Westminster School Of Art. This was the only formal training Beardsley had ever had.
Ian Fletcher author of Aubrey Beardsley by Ian Fletcher claims that Beardsley is not an impressionist, nor an expressionist, but essentially eclectic. ” He had no facility, no admiration for nature-pantheism, the superstition of the cultivated classes. (Aubrey Beardsley by Ian Fletcher, p.23). Much of Beardsley’s work does connect directly with literary texts. “Beardsley is indeed much concerned with the reader or viewer, but hardly in the humble facilitating mode of the average illustrator and reader is the precise word. Yet, he does mediate between author and reader, not conducting word into image, but bringing to light rather what implicit, forbidden, or subversive elements of a text so disconcerting the author and forcing the reader to become a voyeur by recognizing in himself what he condemns in others”.