Simeon Solomon

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A photograph by David Wilkie Wynfield of Solomon in oriental costume.

Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840, No. 3 Sandys Street, Bishopsgate, London – 14 August 1905, St. Giles's Workhouse, Endell Street) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter.

Biography[edit]

Solomon was born into a prominent Jewish family. He was the eighth and last child born to merchant Michael (Meyer) Solomon and artist Catherine (Kate) Levy. Solomon was a younger brother to fellow painters Abraham Solomon (1824–1862) and Rebecca Solomon (1832–1886).

Born and educated in London, Solomon started receiving lessons in painting from his older brother around 1850. He started attending Carey's Art Academy in 1852. His older sister first exhibited her works at the Royal Academy during the same year.

As a student at the Royal Academy Schools, Solomon was introduced through Dante Gabriel Rossetti to other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, as well as the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne and the painter Edward Burne-Jones in 1857. His first exhibition was at the Royal Academy in 1858. He continued to hold exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy between 1858 and 1872. In addition to the literary paintings favoured by the Pre-Raphaelite school, Solomon's subjects often included scenes from the Hebrew Bible and genre paintings depicting Jewish life and rituals. His association with Swinburne led to his illustrating Swinburne's Lesbia Brandon in 1865.[1]

In 1873 his career was cut short when he was arrested in a public urinal at Stratford Place Mews, off Oxford Street, in London and charged with attempting to commit sodomy: he was fined £100.[2] He was arrested again in 1874 in Paris, after which he was sentenced to spend three months in prison.[2][3][4][5]

Solomon's grave at Willesden

In 1884 he was admitted to the workhouse where he continued to produce work; however, his life and talent were blighted by alcoholism. Twenty years later in 1905, he died from complications brought on by his alcoholism. He was buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Willesden.

Examples of his work are on permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum and at Leighton House. In December 2005/January 2006, there was an important retrospective of his work, held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and in London at the Ben Uri Gallery in October / November 2006.

In literature[edit]

In Oscar Wilde's long prison letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, De Profundis, Wilde writes of his bankruptcy: “That all my charming things were to be sold: my Burne-Jones drawings: my Whistler drawings: my Monticelli[disambiguation needed]: my Simeon Solomons: my china: my Library…”

In Anthony Powell's novel A Buyer's Market (book 2 in A Dance to the Music of Time), the narrator says of the artist Mr. Deacon that Solomon was one of the few painters he admired.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Colin Cruise et al. (ed) Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, London: Merrett/Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 2005, ISBN 1-85894-311-6
  • Simon Reynolds, The Vision of Simeon Solomon, Oak Knoll Press, 1984, ISBN 0-685-30068-4
  • Solomon: A family of painters: Abraham Solomon, 1823–1862, Rebecca Solomon, 1832–1886, Simeon Solomon, 1840–1905, Geffrye Museum, London, 8 November–31 ...[when?] & Art Gallery, 18 January – 9 March 1986, Inner London Education Authority, 1986, ISBN 0-7085-9968-0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Horne, Reina Lewis, Outlooks: lesbian and gay sexualities and visual cultures, Routledge, 1996, ISBN 0-415-12468-9, p. 70
  2. ^ a b William A. Peniston, "Pederasts and others: urban culture and sexual identity in nineteenth-century Paris", Haworth gay & lesbian studies, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 1-56023-486-5, pp. 77–78
  3. ^ Lockard, Ray Anne (2002), "Solomon, Simeon", glbtq.com, retrieved 19 September 2007 
  4. ^ Michael Matthew Kaylor, "Secreted Desires: The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde", Michael Matthew Kaylor, 2006, ISBN 80-210-4126-9, p. 81
  5. ^ Jeffrey Merrick, Bryant T. Ragan, "Homosexuality in modern France", Studies in the history of sexuality, Oxford University Press US, 1996, ISBN 0-19-509303-8, p. 134
  • Geoffrey Wigoder, "Everyman's Judaica: an encyclopedic dictionary", Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, 1975, ISBN 070651412, p. 562

External links[edit]