Thursday, February 4th, 2016...10:00 am

Images of the grotesque

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

 Img0056The Gypsy’s first issue was published in London in 1915 and contained short stories, essays, poems, illustrations, sonnets, and prose.  In their foreword the editors of the magazine acknowledged that many people would criticize their endeavor in light of the fact that half of the world was presently at war, but they firmly believed that it was the duty of an artist to express their ideas whenever they occurred.  It appears that The Gypsy only published two issues.

Alan Odle, an English illustrator, contributed a lot of the artwork contained in The Gypsy.  Odle never achieved a great level of fame in his lifetime and is mainly remembered as the husband of Dorothy Richardson, a British author and journalist.  His style is described as a precursor to surrealism with most of his images being quite grotesque as well as subversive.

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Widener has a few volumes in their collection which feature his illustrations including Candide; or, The Optimist by Voltaire.  Published in 1922 you can see that his style is a little cleaner and less intricate then the work he did for the Gypsy though it still clearly contains a sense of the grotesque.

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Odle also contributed his work for a number of James Hanley volumes including this frontispiece for The Last Voyage.  Only 550 copies were printed and signed by the author and this one is no. 12.   Odle’s work on the frontispiece displays a style that leans more heavily towards surrealism.

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To explore more of Odle’s work in publications of The Gypsy, you can find the two issues in Widener’s collection.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post. 

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