Alastair, pseud. Voight, Hans Henning (1887-1969), and Wilde, Oscar (1854-1900), Original Book Illustration, pen and ink illustration of "Herode," from Salome: drame en un acte, Paris, c. 1922, black and red ink and pencil, on laid paper, inscribed to reverse at top left "Alastair - Salome - Herode," sheet size 11 7/8 x 9 1/2 in., (minor handling wear, light soiling, spots of adhesive residue at right and left upper corners).
Provenance: William M. and Dora Bay Wheeler of Boston, Massachusetts. Thence by descent to the present owner.
Note: Hans Henning Voight (1887-1969), known by his self-created pseudonym "Alastair," was an artist of mysterious origins, and limited classical training. Fifteen years younger than Aubrey Beardsley, Alastair was highly influenced by Beardsley and other artists of his circle, many of whom were published in Elkin Mathews' and John Lane's The Yellow Book, published during the height of the Art Nouveau period. Illustrators such as Beardlsey, and authors such as Oscar Wilde particularly exemplified the Decadence and Symbolist movements in art and literature. After Beardsley's early death at the age of 25, John Lane pursued other challenging and talented artists to work with him on his various publishing endeavors, and therefore sought out Alastair. Lane thought highly enough of him to publish Forty-Three Drawings by Alastair in 1914. In 1925, Knopf published Fifty Drawings by Alastair, which included this drawing, or a slight variation thereof. Like Beardsley, Alastair illustrated works by many top contemporary writers such as Oscar Wilde, as well as numerous plays, novels, short stories, and poems from the 18th, and late 19th century, including Laclos' Les Liaisons dangereuses for Black Sun Press, and Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. Alastair's fascination with textures and textiles can clearly be seen in this drawing, and its menacing, yet highly sensuous nature cannot be denied. Although influenced by Beardsley, Alastair was an intriguing and talented artist in his own right.