Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted late-Victorian London with his sinuous black and white drawings. He explored the erotic and the elegant, the humorous and grotesque, winning admirers around the world with his distinctive style.
Spanning seven years, this exhibition will cover Beardsley’s intense and prolific career as a draughtsman and illustrator, cut short by his untimely death from tuberculosis, aged 25. Beardsley’s charismatic, enigmatic persona played a part in the phenomenon that he and his art generated, so much so that Max Beerbohm dubbed the 1890s the ‘Beardsley Period’.
This will be the first exhibition dedicated to Beardsley at Tate since 1923, and the largest display of his original drawings in Europe since the seminal 1966 exhibition at the V&A, which triggered a Beardsley revival.
The over 200 works include his celebrated illustrations for Le Morte d’Arthur, Lysistrata and Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. It will also show artworks that were key inspirations for Beardsley, including Japanese scrolls and watercolours by Edward Burne-Jones and Gustave Moreau.