Aubrey Beardsley and His Art

b4The Muscleheaded Blog
today proudly presents
a series of vintage works
by Aubrey Beardsley.

Most of these images
were very kindly
provided to us
by my friend G .

From a Wagnerian style piece,
a booklet called:
La Storia di Venere e Tannhauser
(o Sotto il Monte)”b1
[The story of Venus and Tannhauser
(or Under the Hill]  ”

If you like them,
please drop us a line
or let us know in comments —

Aubrey Beardsley
was a very well known English illustrator,
working in the late 1800’s.

His best known work
was done in black ink,

and his style was part of what
was called the b3
“Aesthetic Art Movement” —
(along with Whistler,
and Dante Rossetti )

But he is considered to have
been one of the pioneers
of what would develop into
the Art Nouveau movement,

and in the forms of
modern poster art.

He had been strongly
influenced by Toulouse-Latrec,
while on a visit to Paris in 1892,b5

…. and one can see this in much
of his art after that time.

During his short life,
his choice of subject matter
was often seen as over the top,
or downright taboo:

even grotesque.

he would be the first one
to take ownership of that —

he was once quoted
as saying:b6

” If I am not grotesque
I am nothing . “

there are many strong elements of
and decadence–

His work graced an interesting
variety assortment of volumes,


mythological themes,
historical works,
and contemporary literature.

Two of his most famous
illustrated works were:

Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur“,

and Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata”.

Beardsley died very young,
of Tuberculosis,
at age 25…..

Still, he was,
in that very short period of time,
able to produce dozens
of stunning works of art like these.

I hope you enjoy them !!!

HOY !!!!



Know Your Deco

aI don’t know all that much about the science of architecture,

But I do know what I like.

One of the things I admire about my great grandfather’s generation was their buildings —

— the Art Deco style in particular.

The style came into being in the very early part of the twentieth century,
growing out of the Art Nouveau movement….

But, while Art Nouveau was expressed with a humanistic, organic perspective,
Art Deco focused on a more technological and geometric viewpoint.

A city not far from me, Asheville, North Carolina,
has some beautiful examples,
like this one:

the City Hall.

Inside and out, this building bristles with Deco vitality and verve,

…….as does the city itself.

It really is a groovy city to visit.

Friendly, clean, a little weird, with plenty of Art Deco to go around.

If it was near the beach, I think I’d move there.

And being originally from South Florida,

centuryI was certainly affected by the plethora of old Art Deco hotels in nearby Miami Beach…

Most of them have been painstakingly restored to their original condition,

….. and to see them today can be quite a culture shock.

The first time I saw them as a child in the 1960’s, it felt like another world, even then.

Part of the fun about these places is that you can seemingly immerse yourself in a time long ago, when design wasn’t all about just money and functionality —

newyorkThese buildings made a statement
about society,
about people,
about hopes for the future,
and most especially, about technology.

And of course, when they were built,
——they were about fresh, ground-breaking ideas.

A new approach to things, as it were.


…. to visit those places is to see the Deco movement in full stride.

Many people would say the greatest surviving examples of the Art Deco movement are in New York —

…….. for example, the Chrysler Building, or the Empire State.

I don’t know….

I’ve seen some really gorgeous examples in some unexpected places.

guardianDetroit– one of my least favorite cities to visit— has so many beautiful old Deco buildings like the Fisher, or the Guardian Building, it’s incredible.

The Guardian, for one, has been restored, but many of the old masterpieces are falling to ruin.

It breaks my heart what has been allowed to happen to that city.

As the architectural marvels from the era of the 1920’s disintegrate, so does an important part of our history.

The Art Deco style wasn’t just used for high dollar, high exposure skyscrapers, either—

My favorites are the ‘every day’ buildings —
——– the houses, the theatres, the depots.

I was driving through Arkansas recently,

….and came across a beautiful old example of an Art Deco Bus Station, blythevillems

in a small city named Blytheville.

It still serves the same function, and has been maintained pretty well,

…… considering the lack of demand for long distance bus travel these days.

Check out the shape of the structure, the curved panes of glass, the signage, the neon around the front fascia..

How could someone not stop and gape at such a wonderful piece of history?

Well, the locals thought I was nuts.

char4lesonCloser to home,

I went looking for old deco-style movie houses one weekend in Charleston, South Carolina,

….. and I didn’t have to search for very long before I came across this one—

It’s the old Riviera Theatre, built in 1939…

………… and restored in the 1990’s as a conference center.

Charleston has a wonderful variety of old buildings in many styles, and the historically significant S.H. Kress Building, on King Street, is another fine example of the Deco movement in architecture.paramount

My friend Katie sent me a picture of the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California…

It’s a classic of Deco architecture.

And talking about movie houses,
………one of my all time favorites is in a little Midwest town called Normal, Illinois.

And it’s anything,
but Normal.