Artist. His edgy and often erotic drawings helped to define the Art Nouveau style. He first came to public attention as a musical child prodigy, giving piano recitals at the Royal Pavilion in his native Brighton, England. Stalked by tuberculosis nearly all of his brief life, he lived in the creative "fast lane," achieving success on the concert stage, in the world of letters, and finally, as a brilliant illustrator whose work would inspire Picasso and Kandinsky, and remain an influence on commercial art even today. Confining his palette almost entirely to black & white, Beardsley's theatre posters and pen & ink illustrations for Morte d'Arthur, Lysistrata, and Salome excited both admiration and outrage in Victorian society. His legacy is all the more remarkable because he had only turned to the visual arts in the last 5 years of his life. In 1897 his deteriorating health prompted his move to the French Riviera, where he died a year later at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Menton, attended by his mother and sister. A late convert to Catholicism, Beardsley had recalled childhood dreams of the crucified Christ on his deathbed, and pleaded that his Lysistrata and other "obscene" works be destroyed. Although this final request was disregarded by his publisher, the 25-year-old artist died comforted by the sacraments, a rosary between the fingers which had once held his pen. After a Requiem Mass in Menton Cathedral the following day, his remains were interred in its cemetery.
Bio by: Nikita Barlow