Son of a notary born in Châteauroux, Indre, Aurier went to Paris in 1883 to study law, but soon his attention was drawn to art and literature, and he began to contribute to Symbolist periodicals. He reviewed the annual Salon in Le Décadent, later he contributed to La Plume, in 1889 to Le Moderniste, and from its foundation in 1890, to the Mercure de France. There the essays were published, on which Aurier's fame as well as the fame of the artists discussed is founded: "Les Isolés: Vincent van Gogh" and "Le Symbolisme en peinture: Paul Gauguin".
After a trip to Marseille, Aurier died at the age of twenty-seven in Paris, on 5 October 1892, from a typhus infection. The next day, friends, writers and artists accompanied his coffin to the funeral train departing from the Orléans station (today Musée d'Orsay) for Châteauroux, where Aurier's remains were entombed in the family grave.
Six months after his death, in April 1893, his friends published his collected writings (Œuvres posthumes), edited by the Mercure de France.
Selected art criticism
- Les Isolés: Vincent van Gogh, Mercure de France, January 1890, pp. 24-29 English translation
- Le Symbolisme en peinture: Paul Gauguin, Mercure de France, March 1891, pp. 155-165
- Les Symbolistes, Revue encyclopédique 2, 1 April 1892, pp. 474–486, illustrated
Most of the Van Gogh paintings from Aurier's collection were acquired by Helene Kröller-Müller, and are now in the collections of the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (The Netherlands). Works by other artists from Aurier's estate - Émile Bernard, A. Fourmon, by unknown artists and Aurier himself - were first on public view in Paris, in 1960.
- On the funeral, see: G.-Albert Aurier. Mercure de France, November 1892, p. 282-285
- Œuvres posthumes de G.-Albert Aurier, Edition de Mercure de France, Paris 1893
- See the items from the Williame Collection, Châteauroux, lent to the exhibition Les Amis de Van Gogh, Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 9 November - 17 December 1960.
- Sophie Monneret, L'impressionisme et son époque, dictionnaire international, Denoël, Paris 1979 ISBN 2-221-05222-6
- Margaret Rauschenbach Lynn, G.-Albert Aurier, Critic and Theorist of Symbolist Art, Ph.D. thesis, MIT, 1983 pdf (9MB)
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