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Philippe Jullian

Wrote on: 1890s - Decadent movement - Symbolist movement (visual arts)

Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s (1969) - Philippe Jullian [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Philippe Jullian's Dreamers of Decadence (1969) does for the visual arts what Mario Praz's Romantic Agony (1930) does for literature. Dreamers of Decadence is dedicated to Mario Praz.

Related: French art criticism


Philippe Jullian, a French painter and writer, who wrote extensively about the Symbolist art movement and the fin-de-siècle period (e.g. Dreamers of Decadence (1969 (Paris) / 1971 (UK)), The Symbolists (1973)). --http://www.artmagick.com/galleries/dhurmer/ [Dec 2005]

Philippe Jullian (1921-1977) was a French illustrator, art historian, biographer, aesthete, and novelist. He was also known as a dandy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_Jullian [Dec 2006]

Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s (1969) - Philippe Jullian

From the back cover:

There have been few movements in the history of Western art as strange as that of the Decadents of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. While public attention (like that of most later critics) was preoccupied with the Impressionists, many painters were reacting in a totally different -- and more imaginative way --to the grim horrors of the new industrial society around them. ... Jullian takes the reader on a conducted tour through the bizarre symbolism of this half-forgotten world, introducing them to a large number of writers and artists.

Original title: Esthètes et magiciens (1969)

My Amazon.com search found only two of this French author’s titles in print (his biographies of Trefusis and Wilde), and even Amazon.fr came up short. But there are used copies of most of his books on Abebooks.com. That’s good; he’s worth rediscovering. Jullian (1921-1978) was an artist, illustrator, novelist and art historian, but his real vocation seems to have been that of a collector (the title of his autobiography translates roughly as Second-Hand Goods). His illustrations for Proust, Balzac, Colette, Dickens and Henry James often place a forlorn or abstracted-looking figure in a sea of pictures, furniture, bric-a-brac, objets d’art, lamps, books, perfume bottles, hand mirrors, and occasionally a little decorative dog; some of the drawings in For Whom the Cloche Tolls dispense with the figure altogether. As a historian Jullian knew the value of objects (and people) from periods ignored or forgotten: he played a role in the revival of Art Nouveau in the 1960s. In Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth, the British artist, writer and Jullian protégé Philip Core calls him “a last and lasting example of pre-war camp.” Even rarer, he is an example of a writer able to transform the irony, humor, sentimentality, disdain and insight of camp into a form of criticism and a tool for interpreting history. Certainly one of the pleasures of reading Jullian’s work is his fascination with the delicate line that separates, or fails to separate, high taste from kitsch. --http://torrible.blogspot.com/2005/02/philippe-jullian.html [Dec 2005]

See also: decadents - dream - Symbolism

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