January 28, 2009

The eluvise Alastair

Alastair - artist name mentioned for the first time in 1907 - is the pseudonym of Baron Hans Henning von Voigt (1887-1969), son of a Prussian lieutenant general. Elusive figure, Alastair spent his youth travelling to major European capitals and New York. Self-taught, he earned his living as a dancer, pianist and draughtsman. This last talent gave him notoriety. He exhibited his first works in 1910, in Cologne and Düsseldolf. During World War I, he took refuge in Switzerland and, once the conflict ended, resumed his frantic pace of life. The inter war period is his most productive. He illustrated Wilde, Barbey d'Aurevilly. His style is marked by a predilection for eroticism and baroque and influenced by Aubrey Beardsley. In 1928, when he works on Manon Lescaut for the English publisher John Lane (who has collaborated with Bearsdley), Alastair gives a supernatural and quite surprising tone to the story.

Currently, the librairie loliée offers :
  • Alastair – Prévost (l’abbé). Manon Lescaut. Translated from the french the abbé Prévost by D.C. Moylan with eleven illustrations by Alastair and an introduction by Arthur Symons. London, John Lane the Bodley Head ltd, 1928, in-4, publisher binding. 11 original full-page compositions by Alastair. Tirage Deluxe edition limited to 1850 copies.