16 March 2014

The Opinion of the Few

Robert Ross, Aubrey Beardsley (London: John Lane, 1909), p.31:
Among artists and men of letters no less than with that great inartistic body, "the art-loving public," Aubrey Beardsley's name will always call forth wonder, admiration, speculation, and contempt. It should be conceded, however, that his work cannot appeal to everyone; and that many who have the highest perception of the beautiful see only the repulsive and unwholesome in the troubled, exotic expression of his genius. Fortunately, no reputation in art or letters rests on the verdict of majorities — it is the opinion of the few which finally triumphs.
Beardsley died on this day in 1898.

Aubrey Beardsley's frontispiece to
An Evil Motherhood, by Walt Ruding (1896)