Decadent Movement comes to L.A.

I’m not speaking of some tawdry film set in the San Fernando Valley or a Palm Springs pool party ; I’m thinking of that infinitely more satisfying period in the 1890’s when  the line between beauty and perversity was fully explored, the Decadent Movement.

 

 

Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Orpheus on His Lyre

1865

Gustave Moreau

b.1826-d.1898

Musée d’Orsay

Paris

I was reminded of this delightful time by my friend Kim Cooper of LAVA Sunday Salon fame. Kim had thoughtfully sent along an email announcement that UCLA was putting together a lecture series devoted to the Decadent Movement and Aestheticism, of course I made reservations pronto.

Once I knew I had secured a seat, I felt free to share the info. I tend to be greedy.

It is a two day lecture, November 19th and 20th at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus, if you happen to be in L.A. please join me.

Of A Neophyte And How The Black Art Was Revealed Unto Him By The Fiend Asamuel

1893

Aubrey Beardsley

 

We can’t really think of the Decadent movement without regarding Huysmans and his wonderfully perverse novels À rebours (Against the Grain, 1884) and my personal favorite Là-Bas (The Damned, 1891). À rebours chronicles the exploits of the wicked aesthete Jean Des Esseintes. It is a marvelous novel, beloved by Wilde and his set, I must revisit this novel.

Jean Des Essientes is said to be based on that dandy of dandies Robert de Montesquieu, a delightful portrait by Giovanni Boldini follows.

Joris-Karl Huysman was himself a bit of a dandy, I really admire this photo-portrait of Huysmans. I find it intriguing how a sacred object such as a crucifix can  appear sinister when in the company of this man. I want my next portrait to be in this pose.

Joris-Karl Huysmans

b. Feb. 5th 1848

d. May 12th 1907

Certain dark themes recur time and again within the Decadent Movement, Oedipus and the ghastly Sphynx, dark angels and swooning lamentations, Moreau’s Orpheus a good example. But no figure held the imagination so firmly as Salome . Wilde, Beardsley, Moreau, and Ricketts, along with many others, all tried to capture her dark allure.

Salome

1871

Gustav Moreau

Salome

1925

Charles Ricketts

1866-1931

The Toilet of Salome I, from Salome

1894

Beardsley

V&A

Although not of the period it is difficult to not toss in the silent screen starlet Alla Nazimova and her iconic 1923 depiction of the wanton Salome.

As I intend to experience the lecture fully, I will re-read that silly little novel that caused such a sensation in ’94, Robert Hitchens, Green Carnation.


I hope to be a s precious as Esmé Amarinth, hope to see you there.

Have a pleasant evening,

Babylon Baroque

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Decadent Movement comes to L.A.”

  1. LG~ What a devilishly delightful post. Of course you know I am obsessed with Beardsley and all of the others from the Decadent Movement. Somehow I had missed the Green Carnation. I love the cover that you show, it is so sad that the book helped lead to Wilde’s down fall. Best, Kendra

  2. babylonbaroque Says:

    I thought it had just caused a scandal, it is pretty frank. I haven’t read it years, i have a copy on one of the shelves, not nearly attractive as the on e i have shown.
    As always, thanks,
    LG

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: