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Max Beerbohm Sesquicentennial

Max Beerbohm was born 150 years ago.


A Catalogue of The Caricatures of Max Beerbohm (1972)

From Wikipedia:

Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm (24 August 1872 – 20 May 1956) was an English essayist, parodist and caricaturist under the signature Max. He first became known in the 1890s as a dandy and a humourist. He was the drama critic for the Saturday Review from 1898 until 1910, when he relocated to Rapallo, Italy …  Among his best-known works is his only novel, Zuleika Dobson, published in 1911. His caricatures, drawn usually in pen or pencil with muted watercolour tinting, are in many public collections.

 


Mark Samuels Lasner Collection / University of Delaware Library

The 2015 Adam Gopnik New Yorker article on Max:

The essayist and caricaturist Max Beerbohm was one of the great figures of the late Victorian and Edwardian era in London—and then had a surprising Indian summer in America in the early nineteen-sixties, when Edmund Wilson wrote at length in his praise, and the playwright S. N. Behrman serialized a book of conversations with the very elderly Max (his admirers always call him by his first name, a not entirely honorable honor) in this magazine. John Updike and W. H. Auden, too, wrote about him, here and elsewhere. Since then, his reputation, like that of most of his contemporaries, has not so much collapsed like a house of cards as shrunk like a boiled head. It remains sharply chiselled, feature by feature, but on a much smaller scale: still intently animate to those who want him, invisible to those who don’t.

Beerbohm was a major caricaturist as well—Bernard Berenson called him, hyperbolically but not ridiculously, “the English Goya.” Though his practice was rooted in the French fin-de-siècle practice of caricature, with its emphasis on elegance and animation, more than on Daumier-like grit and grime, Max gave his caricatures a particularly English kind of narrative flair

 

Max Beerbohm at the Chris Beetles Gallery:

Equally valued as a caricaturist and writer, Max Beerbohm sustained an elegant detachment in art and life. Though the tone of his drawings is often lightly wicked, it is also affectionate, for he hated to wound his subjects, most of whom he knew and liked. As a result, he was on safest ground in satirising artists and writers of the past, and in making many self-caricatures.

 

A Getty Images Gallery of Max Beerbohm

“Only the insane take themselves seriously.”
–  Max Beerbohm

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