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Jullian, Philippe

    Full Name: Jullian, Philippe

    Other Names:

    • Philippe Jullian

    Gender: male

    Date Born: c. 1919-1921

    Date Died: 1977

    Place Born: Bordeaux, Centre-Val de Loire, France

    Place Died: Paris, Île-de-France, France

    Home Country/ies: France

    Subject Area(s): French (culture or style), painting (visual works), and Symbolist

    Career(s): artists (visual artists) and biographers


    Artist, writer and art book author. Julian was born Philippe Simounet. His grandfather was the historian Camille Jullian (1859-1933) and his father André Simounet, a military officer. At age eight he took his mother’s family name of Jullian. His whole life, he was part of the Society world which he both criticized and belonged. Jullian studied at the Sorbonne, but lacked the discipline to finish. His first published book, Dictionnaire du snobisme appeared in the same year as its English translation, the Snob Spotter’s Guide in 1958. During the late 1950’s he wrote under the reversed form of his name, “Julian Philip.” He wrote his first art book, a biography of Delacroix, in 1963. In the course of the following years he published a number of writer’s biographies which earned him the respect of the literary community. These included Robert de Montesquiou, Oscar Wilde, and D’Annunzio. In between these works, Jullian published one of the first re-evaluations of the work of the so-called French Decadent artists, the movement now known as Symbolism. Esthètes et magiciens: l’art fin de siècle (1969), which treated all the media and not just art, was a success and was translated into English as Dreamers of Decadence in 1971. In between, Jullian collaborated, along with Edward Lucie-Smith and John Milner on the important 1972 Hayward Gallery exhibition, “French Symbolist Painters.” This was followed in 1973 by his lighter survey of the visual arts, Les Symbolistes (English, The Symbolists, 1974). He died in his Paris apartment at age 58. Politically conservative and a protestant, Jullian was always somewhat of an outsider of his native France. His art books were always the survey genre, few if any footnotes and a concentration on literary style at the cost of factual precision.

    Selected Bibliography

    Delacroix. Paris: A. Michel, 1963; Robert de Montesquiou, un prince 1900. Paris: Librairie académique Perrin 1965, English, Prince of Aesthetes: Count Robert de Montesquiou, 1855-1921. New York: Viking Press 1968; Esthètes et magiciens: l’art fin de siècle. Paris: Librairie académique Perrin, 1969, English, Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s. New York: Praeger, 1971; Les collectioneurs. Paris: Flammarion, 1966, English, The Collectors. Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle, 1970; Les Symbolistes. Neuchatel: Ides et Calendes, 1972, English, The Symbolists. New York: Phaidon/Praeger, 1973; The Triumph of Art Nouveau: Paris Exhibition, 1900. New York: Larousse, 1974; DeMeyer. New York: Knopf/Random House, 1976; Les Orientalistes: la vision de l’Orient par les peintres européens au 19e siècle. Freiburg: Office du livre, 1977, English, The Orientalists: European Painters of Eastern Scenes. Oxford: Phaidon, 1977.


    Diesbach, Ghislain de. Philippe Jullian: 1919-1977. Paris: Editions Axium, 1980; Diesbach, Ghislain de. Philippe Jullian: un esthète aux enfers. Paris: Pion, 1993 ; Van Tieghem and Blémont, H. ” Jullian (Philippe).” Dictionnaire de biographie française. Paris: 1994, p. 1002. [obituary:] “M. Philippe Jullian Author and Painter.” Times [London] October 1, 1977, p. 16;


    "Jullian, Philippe." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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