Decadence and Desire
A beautiful and informative gift book devoted to the work of Aubrey Beardsley, one of the defining artists of the Art Nouveau style. Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898) was only twenty-five when he died from tuberculosis, but in his short life he established a reputation as one of the most accomplished—and controversial—illustrators of his day. Astonishingly, all his work was created in the course of only six years, yet his contribution to the visual language of Art Nouveau was profound; today, his work is instantly recognizable for its use of black ink and flowing lines on white paper, along with its erotically charged subject matter. Not all his work was sexually provocative—much was satirical, attacking the decadent mores of the time—but some was and remains shocking, taking its stylistic inspiration from Japanese shunga and Greek vase painting and its thematic inspiration from mythology, history, poetry, and drama. This beautifully designed, accessibly priced book offers a wealth of illustrations by Beardsley, and introduces his exquisitely crafted drawings and prints to a new audience. Including a fascinating text by Jan Marsh, Aubrey Beardsley brings together a carefully curated selection of works from Beardsley’s tragically short but highly productive life.