Max Beerbohm - Encyclopedia


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"MAX BEERBOHM (1872-), English writer and caricaturist, was born in London Aug. 24 1872, the son of Julius Beerbohm and Eliza Draper, and half-brother of the actor, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. He was educated at Charterhouse and Merton College, Oxford, and afterwards became well known as a contributor to the Yellow Book and dramatic critic on the Saturday Review. He married in 1910 Miss Florence Kahn, of Memphis, Tennessee, and afterwards took up his residence at Rapallo, Italy. His published writings include The Works of Max Beerbohm, containing the famous essay on George IV., and also A Defence of Cosmetics (1896); The Happy Hypocrite (1897); More (1899); Zuleika Dobson (1911); A Christmas Garland (1912); Seven Men (1919), and And Even Now (1920). He also contributed to and edited the Life of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, published in 1920. He is well known by his caricatures, of which exhibitions have been held in London at the Carfax Gallery (1906) and the Leicester Galleries (1911, 1913, 1921). In 1917, a Modern Loan Exhibition at the Grosvenor Galleries included a group of 15 caricatures entitled " Rossetti and His Friends." Many of his caricatures have been published in Caricatures of Twenty-five Gentlemen (1896); The Second Childhood of John Bull (1901); The Poets' Corner (1904); A Book of Caricatures (1907); Fifty Caricatures (1913). His delicate and incisive satire has found its best material in the peculiarities of individuals in every section of society. Movements he almost invariably typifies by some well-known personality. Pledged to no party, his friends have occasioned some of his most characteristic work, notably the series dealing with the New English Art Club and with Mr. Balfour. Like Forain and Steinlein in his detachment, he lacks their universality; and complete appreciation of his art implies an intimate knowledge of current affairs. As a draughtsman he is not faultless, and sometimes resorts to the veriest conventions; but his freedom of line, feeling for delicate colour and sense of design are remarkable, especially in his later work. (W. G. C.)

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