Aubrey Vincent Beardsley Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
8-21-1872 Brighton, ENG - 3-16-1898 Menton, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, English graphics artist, the epitome of fin de siecle decadence. Born in Brighton, Beardsley was a frail child and suffered his first attack of tuberculosis in 1879. He left London at the age of 16, working initially in an insurance office while attending art classes in the evening. In 1891 Edward Burne-Jones persuaded him to become a professional artist and two years later, Beardsley received his first major commission, when J.M. Dent engaged him to illustrate Malory's Morte d'Arthur. He was a leading painter in the Aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler. Although Beardsley had a short career, his contribution to the Art Nouveau and poster styles was significant.
The success of this venture gave him the opportunity to work on an even more prestigious project, the illustrations of Wilde's Salome, while also producing images for a new magazine, The Yellow Book. Aubrey was the most controversial painter of the Art Nouveau epoch, famous for his black and white illustrations of erotica inspired by the Japanese Shunga artwork, featuring gigantic genitalia, the main focus of his later artwork.
Soon Aubrey Vincent Beardsley developed a unique style, combining the bold composition used in Japanese prints; the erotic, sometimes perverse imagery of the Symbolism, and the effortless mastery of sinuous, linear design, which prefigured Art Nouveau. A glittering career seemed to beckon, but in 1895 the scandal surrounding the Wilde trial led to his sacking from the Yellow Book. His tubercular condition flared up again and within three years he was dead at the young age of 25.