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Book Title: Aubrey Beardsley|
The author of the book: Robert Baldwin Ross
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Reader ratings: 7.6
Edition: Pallas Athene
Date of issue: May 1st 2012
ISBN 13: 9781843680727
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 863 KB
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Robert Ross was one of the first people that Aubrey Beardsley met when he arrived in London to make his name in 1892. Within six years the young artist was dead; but the work he produced in that short time revolutionized British art, and he was fixed forever in the public imagination as one of the leading spirits of the decadent era. Like many others, Ross was taken not only by the evident originality and genius of Beardsley’s work, but also by his character, remembering the "delightful and engaging smile both for friends and strangers," his modesty, wit, erudition, and—contrary to popular opinion—his "briskness and virility," or, as Beerbohm put it, his "stony common sense." Beardsley’s reputation, both artistic and personal, was caught up in the hurricane that overtook avant garde art after the trial of Oscar Wilde. Ross set out in his pioneering biography to redress the balance. He memorialized the worth of the man he knew, and established the seriousness of his art, its roots in the work of the Old Masters (of whom Beardsley had considerable knowledge) and tracing the dramatic transformation as Beardsley matured in the six short years of his working life in London. This combination of personal memoir and informed analysis by someone at the heart of the artistic world of the 1890s makes this biography one of the most fascinating and evocative documents of the period. This republication is a close copy of the first stand-alone edition of 1909. It comes complete with all its original illustrations (and the advertisements for Beardsley’s publications) and the catalogue of Beardsley’s works by Aymer Vallance, which is still the cornerstone of Beardsley studies. It is introduced by Matthew Sturgis, Beardsley’s most distinguished recent biographer. Robert Ross, son of the Attorney-General of Canada, was a key figure in avant garde arts and letters of the 1890’s. Very unusually for this period, he acknowledged and accepted his homosexuality. It was he who first seduced Wilde, who helped him in his imprisonment and exile, and who rescued the estate to provide for Wilde’s sons. His posthumous rehabilitation of Beardsley rescued the artist’s reputation for future generations.
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Read information about the authorRobert Baldwin "Robbie" Ross was a Canadian journalist and art critic. He is best known as the executor of the estate of Oscar Wilde, to whom he had been a lifelong friend. He was also responsible for bringing together several great literary figures, such as Siegfried Sassoon, and acting as their mentor. His open homosexuality in a time when homosexual acts were illegal brought him many hardships.
Ross was able to rely on an allowance and inheritance from his wealthy family to support himself, leaving him free to pursue his interests. His main contribution to literature lies in his work as Wilde's executor, and as Wilde's friend in reading Wilde's texts and, if Ross is to be believed, frequently suggesting changes and improvements. He worked without pay for many years for a small art gallery run by friends and in this capacity travelled in order to purchase works. At one time he hoped to be selected for a royal position, but was rejected, probably due to his connection to Wilde.
Parallel with his work as Wilde's literary executor, Ross tried his hand as a writer and art critic and provided an introduction to Wilde's play Salome. His literary output is small, though, and he authored one book worth a mention, namely Masques and Phases, a collection of previously published short stories and reviews. As an art critic, Ross was highly critical of the post-impressionist painters.
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