Simeon Solomon  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Simeon Solomon (October 9, 1840 in London, England – August 14, 1905 in St. Giles's Workhouse) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter.

Contents

Biography

Solomon was born into a prominent Jewish family. He was the eighth and last child born to prominent 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, including 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.

Solomon lived as an openly gay man in a time when it was not socially acceptable to do so, but 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 indecent exposure and attempting to commit sodomy. He was sentenced to serve eighteen months' hard labour in prison, but this was later reduced to police supervision. He was arrested again in 1874 in Paris, after which he was sentenced to spend three months in prison.

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.

Popular Culture

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.

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: my Simeon Solomons: my china: my Library…”

Bibliography

  • 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

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Simeon Solomon" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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