The current popularity of the strange drawings of Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) marks the second apex of one of the most unusual careers in art history. Within two years after the publication of his first book of illustrations, Beardsley was the best-known artist in England. Just as swiftly, with the national outcry against Oscar Wilde, his career was over. At 26 he was dead.
He left behind a remarkable quantity of first-rate work. The book illustrations, the portraits, the illustrations and covers for "The Studio" and "The Yellow Book" magazines, the book plates and title pages - these are unforgettable creations of line and "black blots", masterpieces in a graphic technique that was genuinely original and that profoundly influenced the decorative arts throughout Europe for generations to follow.