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Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites Hardcover – 27 Sep 2005

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About the Author

Colin Cruise, formerly a senior lecturer in art history at the University of Staffordshire, is a freelance curator and writer on art. Victoria Osborne is Curator of Prints and Drawings at Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Unique And Essential Study Of This Important Artist 10 Oct. 2011
By Herbert H. Highstone - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The career of Simeon Solomon was complicated by certain personal difficulties
which have inhibited the study of this artist until quite recently. In these
days of Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol, a scandalous life should not
exert an embargo on the serious critical study of an artist like Solomon
whose style, while unique in many ways, was securely situated in the
mainstream artistic currents of the Victorian era.

However, it is unfortunately true that any academic person who contemplates
writing a book about an artist with a tarnished reputation must consider the
effect of such a book on her or his own career. To put it more plainly, a
professor at a small college in the Midwest will hesitate before investing
a lot of effort in publicizing an artist who was hounded out of society
because of a homosexual scandal.

One way around this problem is to create an important critical study of a
problematic artist that is disguised as a record of a retrospective art show.
This book presents itself as the record of a Simeon Solomon retrospective
at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. That sounds very respectable indeed,
But hidden in this innocent suit of clothes is a frank and penetrating critical
assessment of a controversial artist concerning whom no other modern critical
studies are available.

I had never seen a photograph of Solomon before I opened this book. But
on p. 179 two very remarkable photos are presented. One image, Plate 148a,
shows a dapper young man about town with a gaze of incredible sympathy and
intelligence. This was Solomon before the blow fell. The other image,
Plate 148B, shows a shockingly changed man, prematurely aged and balding,
staring defiantly into the camera while hunched over a drawing, as if to
say, I am what I am and if you don't like it you can go straight to hell.

Most of the paintings discussed in the book are well reproduced in full
color and amply justify Solomon's contemporary reputation as an innovative
colorist. Many paintings by a variety of contemporary artists are also
reproduced, and show that Solomon was not so very far away from other
artists of his time. I am preaching to the converted here, so I won't go
into Solomon's art in any further detail. If you know about him, you know
about him. This is perhaps not a book for little children, and that's as
far as I'll go.

If you order this book, you should tell the seller that you want to receive
a complete copy with all pages present. This is the kind of book from which
people will be tempted to remove pages with a razor blade, either because
they like certain pictures, or because they wish to destroy them. So please
be warned! Also, don't give this book to your Aunt Pittypat as a birthday
present, because she might get a severe attack of the vapors.

If Solomon interests you, please let me also recommend the recent book
"Gustave Moreau, Between Image And Dream," by G. Lacambre. This book
presents itself as the official record of a Moreau exhibition at the Art
Institute of Chicago, and the main section of the book is entitled
"Catalog." But there is hidden dynamite here as well. This is a grand book
and you'll probably love it, but once again, don't let Aunt Pittypat into
the room while you're reading it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Love among the schoolboys 22 Feb. 2014
By othoniaboys - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been aware of SS at least since 1971, when one of his drawings was used as the dust jacket illo for Brian Reade's 'Sexual Heretics.' His fate has been to be remembered, if at all, not as an artist who happened to be homosexual, but as a homosexual who happened to be an artist. Perhaps this collection of articles will correct this error a little, but I doubt it. My only objection is that not all the paintings are in colour.
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