The Wilde Years
Oscar Wilde and the Art of His Time
A central figure in the worlds of fin-de-siècle London and Paris, The Wilde Years highlighted Wilde’s lesser known role as art critic, journalist and progressive political thinker.
Coinciding with the centenary of Oscar Wilde’s death in Paris on 30 November 1900, The Wilde Years explored an oft forgotten side of the celebrated author, through a display of paintings, sculpture, photographs and drawings from the end of the nineteenth century.
Starting with the artistic and cultural climate of the 1870s, the exhibition charted Wilde’s growing prominence as an icon of the Aesthetic Movement and a reformer of art and society, with paintings by ‘avant-garde’ artists of the time like Burne Jones and Watts and portraits and caricatures of Wilde and his friends from theatrical and artistic circles.
Designs and illustrations for Wilde’s books were also displayed and the exhibition also traced the future careers of Wilde’s young friends and associates including William Rothenstein and Augustus John.