Whatever happened to the greatest Symbolist art historian Philippe Jullian? John Coulthart tells us…

Published December 20, 2010 by goyodelarosa



Jean Delville’s Eve had a lot to do with its success


Philippe Jullian was the greatest art historian in the world specializing in the Aesthetic, Symbolist, Decadent and Art Nouveau movements, producing a number of books that revolutionized art history in the late sixties and early seventies.



Delville’s Portrait de Madame Stuart Merrill


Portrait de Monsieur Jullian in a cemetery (Pere Lachaise?) on back cover



Jullian’s study on the Paris Expo 1900


He had, and still has a profound influence on my own Neo-Symbolist aesthetic sensibilities as an artist in 2010, and almost single-handedly influenced a huge global revival of interest in these formerly despised movements, tapping into that Decadent-Symbolist zeitgeist that informed the psychedelic art that borrowed so freely from them.


JULLIAN in 1970: Malheureusement, he committed suicide


After reading one or two of Jullian’s exquisite, erudite and challenging books, one never again looks at merely decorative Impressionist art in the same way, and the whole conventional telling of the Modern Art triumph that is thought to have come out of that technical innovation is turned on its philistine head. 


D’ANNUNZIO: Dust jacket for Jullian’s biography of the Italian Decadent poet


ROBERT DE MONTESQUIOU: A Prince of the Nineties:

Marcel Proust’s quintessential aesthete


OSCAR WILDE: Jullian’s 1968 bio with Graham Bishop dustjacket 


John Coulthart, a talented English artist and art historian, answers the rhetorical question in my title, with a synopsis of the great French aesthete’s life.

Through the Psychedelic Looking-Glass

QUEEN ALICE: Illustration from John Coulthart’s new 2011 calendar

Mr. Coulthart has just produced a new psychedelic calendar on the Alice in Wonderland theme, which is one of the many contemporary manifestations of these living traditions.

A link to his website is found in the comments section below.

‘Goyo de la Rosa’


One comment on “Whatever happened to the greatest Symbolist art historian Philippe Jullian? John Coulthart tells us…

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