Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 – 14 August 1905) was an English painter associated with the Pre-Raphaelites who was noted for his depictions of Jewish life and same-sex desire. He achieved notoriety after he was caught engaging in sexual activity with a man.
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.
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 attempting to commit sodomy: he was fined £100. 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, but 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.
Pre-Raphaelite Painters from Collections in Lancashire, Tate Britain, London. 17 July 1913 – 28 September 1913
National Gallery of British Art (Tate). July 1923
Jewish Art, Ben Uri Gallery. May 1934
Subjects of Jewish Interest, Ben Uri Gallery. December 1946
Acquisitions of the Friends of the Art Museums of Israel, Ben Uri Gallery. March 1985
Exhibition of English Watercolours, Leger Galleries
Exhibition of English Watercolours 18th & 19th Century, Leger Galleries
Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Simeon Solomon, Durlacher Brothers Gallery, 538 Madison Ave, NYC. In May the exhibition moved to Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. April–May 1966
Solomon: A family of painters—Abraham Solomon, 1823-1862, Rebecca Solomon, 1832-1886, Simeon Solomon, 1840-1905. Geffrye Museum, London, 8 November-31 December 1985; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 18 January-9 March 1986
From Prodigy to Outcast: Simeon Solomon, Pre-Raphaelite Artist, Jewish Museum, London. March 2001- May 2001
Solomon Art Exhibition, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. April 2002- June 2002
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. 1 October 2005 – 15 January 2006
Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites from the Delaware Art Museum, Various Locations in the UK and USA. 19 March 2005 – 29 July 2007
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich. 9 March-18 June 2006
Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, Ben Uri Gallery, The London Jewish Museum of Art. 11 September-26 November 2006
Blake's Shadow: William Blake and his Artistic Legacy, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. 26 Jan 2008-20 April 2008
The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy, Museo d’Arte della città di Ravenna, Ravenna, Italy. 28 Feb 2010-6 June 2010
The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 15 Sept 2010-5 Dec 2010
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…”
References and sources
^Cohen, Richard I.Jewish Icons: Art and Society in Modern Europe, University of California Press, 1998, p160
^'Cruise, Colin, ed., Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, London: Merrell, 2005, p9
^Seymour, Gayle M. Simeon Solomon and the Biblical Construction of Marginal Identity in Victorian England, Journal of Homosexuality, Volume 33, Issue 3-4, 1997
Geoffrey Wigoder, "Everyman's Judaica: an encyclopedic dictionary", Keter Publishing House Jerusalem, 1975, ISBN978-0-7065-1412-4, p. 562
Colin Cruise et al. (ed) Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, London: Merrett/Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 2005, ISBN1-85894-311-6
Simon Reynolds, The Vision of Simeon Solomon, Oak Knoll Press, 1984, ISBN0-685-30068-4
Solomon: A family of painters: Abraham Solomon, 1823–1862, Rebecca Solomon, 1832–1886, Simeon Solomon, 1840–1905: Geffrye Museum, London, 8 November-31 December 1985 [and] Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 18 January-9 March 1986, Inner London Education Authority, 1986, ISBN0-7085-9968-0