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BDSM, forced feminization & a little light torture: The erotic art of Bernard Montorgueil VERY NSFW
10:58 am


Bernard Montorgueil

I suppose it was just another ordinary evening over at Bernard Montorgueil’s apartment. In the front room, there was gathered the usual array of flagellants, sadists, masochists, onanists, fellators, fellatrix, cunning linguists, sodomites and tethered cross-dressers. Each, in their own way, happily enjoying a quiet evening of sex and torture. Most of the men almost naked apart from their stockings and six-inch heels and the glitter of their nipple clamps and cock rings. The women, more sensibly, wore beautiful evening gowns, dress coats or fine tweed skirts and jackets matched by a stout pair of brogues.

It was just as Msr. Montorgueil had imagined it. For he had imagined it all and set it down on paper with a pencil. For this was what Msr. Montorgueil did most days and evenings sitting at his desk—draw pictures of men and women enjoying the carnal delights of S&M.

No one knows the true identity of Bernard Montorgueil. He was so mysterious a figure that “Montorgueil” does not merit even a full entry in Wikipedia. What little is known is that he (or she) was a French artist who produced the bulk of their erotic writing and artwork during the 1920s and 1930s. The work mainly focussed on the world of femdom-malesub with a dash or two of homoerotica and some forced feminization. Montorgueil’s work became very popular in the 1950s, where it was circulated around the underground fetish BDSM community. The drawings were originally produced in pencil and later colored for publication in the 1970s when they were collated into the volumes Dans La Maison des Amazones, Madame de Varennes and Barbara, and Les Quatre Jeudis. These books are long out of print though can be found on eBay. More recently, an edition Dressage was published.
More of the mysterious Bernard Montorgueil’s erotica, after the work…

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Love and Demons: The 19th century erotic art of Mihály Zichy (NSFW)
10:07 am


18th Century
Mihály Zichy

“Falling Stars” (1897).
Sometime in the mid-1870s, while living in Paris, the Hungarian artist Mihály Zichy produced a series of erotic illustrations. These pictures featured men and women having a right old time fucking and wanking, sucking and licking. What inspired Zichy is unclear. A mid-life crisis? A raging hard-on? The current fashion for erotic illustration? Or perhaps wealthy patrons looking for some “dirty pictures”?

Most of these ink drawings lay undiscovered until after Zichy’s death in 1906. They were then collated together and a selection published in a book entitled Liebe (aka Oh, Liebe) in 1911. This nicely produced volume caused a bit of a stir. Zichy might have been pleased—he had often caused controversy with his work. His most famous picture was the demonically-charged anti-war painting “The Triumph of the Genius of Destruction” (1878). This painting was banned by the militaristic French authorities as deviant propaganda. He also managed to offend many Catholics with his work “Autodafé” (1868), which depicted the horrors of Spanish Inquisition. That said, Zichy was a very respectable artist. He painted the portrait of Lajos Batthyány, the first Hungarian Prime Minister. He was commissioned to produce paintings of the Empress of Austra, “Queen Elisabeth Laying Flowers by the Coffin of Ferenc Deák” and “Drinking Bout of Henry III.” He also supplied 27 illustrations for the poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin in 1881.

Zichy was born in Zala, Hungary on October 15, 1827. He started out studying law before taking up a career as an artist. He traveled to Vienna where he became a pupil of the painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. Under Waldmüller’s recommendation, he became a teacher. He then became a court artist for the Russian Tsar Alexander II. When he left St. Petersburg, he traveled around Europe before settling in Paris circa 1874.

Another intriguing question about Zichy’s erotic illustrations is whether he worked from life models? The drawings look more than just the work of some fevered imagination—most noticebly by the fact Zichy’s couples appear to be enjoying each other as equals and not portrayed as mere titillation for the male gaze. He also depicted gay sex and masturbation—which would have been shocking at the time. His style of drawing, the clear lines, the soft penciling, would influence succeeding artists producing similar erotic illustrations.
“The Triumph of the Genius of Destruction” (1878).
“Autodafé” (1868).
See more of Zichy’s erotic artwork, after the jump…

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The ‘degenerate art’ of Rudolf Schlichter

A surrealist-style painting by German artist, Rudolf Schlichter.
At the age of 26, while he had been pursuing his studies at the Art Academy of Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe, German artist Rudolf Schlichter was drafted into the army. Following a successful hunger strike, Schlichter was dismissed from his duties and returned to the bustling, forward-thinking town of Karlsruhe. Schlichter didn’t stick around for long and soon set off for Berlin where he fell in with the Dada scene and became a communist.

Schlichter made a successful living in Berlin from his illustrations. He transitioned from Dada to the “Neue Saclichkeit” movement (or “New Objectivity”) that used realism to express skepticism related to current events. He quickly became one of the most influential and critically important contributors to this quasi-Expressionism. Within New Objectivity there were two additional artistic courses: The “Verists” were known for using portraiture as a vehicle for their hostility toward authority figures, affluence and the oppression of society. The works of the great Otto Dix played a large role in this sub-component of New Objectivity. The other was commonly referred to as “Magic Realists” who were in opposition to the German style of Expressionism. Probably the most notable Magic Realism artist was Georg Schrimpf whose work was a crucial part of New Objectivity. Now that we’ve got your mini subversive art lesson out of the way, here’s a bit more on Rudolf Schlichter whose work, though not initially, was reviled by the Nazis.

While Schlichter’s body of work is as vast as it is diverse, there were many recurrent points of interest and themes, especially erotic ones, in his paintings and illustrations. Often his subjects were comprised of various bohemian movers and shakers and other residents who were part of the vibrant counterculture of the streets of Berlin where he spent much of his time. In 1923 Schlichter provided 60 illustrations for an edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol. At the end of the 1920s, Schlichter returned to being a practicing Catholic and would end up doing illustrations for various religious publications put out by the church including a youth-oriented magazine called Jungle Front. The illustrations in the magazine often cast a disparaging light on the politics of Adolf Hitler. Coincidently at the time of its publication, Schlichter also belonged to the exclusively German art organization run by the Third Reich, “Reichskammer der bildenden Künste” or the “Reich Chamber of Fine Arts” headed up by propagandist extraordinaire Joseph Goebbels. And as you might imagine the jab didn’t go unnoticed and Schlichter was promptly ousted. His work was removed from galleries and destroyed and Schlichter’s name was added to the “degenerate art” list kept by the Nazis. Which in my mind is always the right kind of list to be on, in any time period.

Though he would pass away at the age of 65, a little more than a decade prior to his death Schlichter produced many remarkable pieces of surrealistic style paintings. Which would lead to the artist being dubbed “the German Salvador Dali.” I’ve included a few of Schlichter’s surrealist works as well as a nice sampling of his erotica below. Which means much of what follows is NSFW.


“Blonde Enemy” 1922.

“Dada Roof Studio.”
More after the jump…

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The gorgeous lesbian erotica of Gerda Wegener
11:18 am


Gerda Wegener

Gerda and Einer Wegener posing in front of one of Gerda’s paintings, 1925.
After moving to Paris from Copenhagen in the early 1900s, the work of then 26-year-old Gerda Wegener garnered the attention of the liberal and experimental art scene thriving in the adventurous city. Though she was already a successful artist in her former hometown well known for her lush illustrations for fashion magazines, a nearly unprecedented event involving her husband Einer would send the pair off to Paris with the hope that their unconventional partnership would be better accepted in the more permissive city.

If Wegener’s name is familiar to you, it is most likely because the extraordinary lives of the groundbreaking artist and her husband were the subjects of the 2015 film, The Danish Girl which was based on a fictional novel from 2000 of the same name by David Ebershoff. If you’ve not read the book or seen the film, the Wegeners’ story is an incredibly compelling tale of love, acceptance, bravery and of course sex. As I don’t want to provide every detail of their extraordinary tale as not to spoil it for anyone, I’ll share a few points of interest as they pertain to Gerda’s spellbinding erotica.

According to historians, Einer’s interest in exploring his true sexuality began after a model failed to show for a sitting with his wife. After she jovially mused that Einer should put on a pair of thigh-highs and heels so she could still paint, he agreed. Unbeknownst to fans of her work, the image of a mysterious dark-haired beauty who would be a reccurring subject in her paintings was actually Einer who had become the primary focus and muse for his wife.

In 1930 after living much of his life as “Lili,” at the age of 47 Einer would travel to Germany to forever transition to a woman and would be one of the first men to go through gender-reassignment surgery. Wegener’s erotic, lesbian-themed paintings caused quite a stir—including the occasional public riot due to their graphic nature. Her less controversial works would grace the pages of Vogue for years as well as other fashion publications.

I’ve included an array of images from Wegener’s vast catalog of erotic works below which, as you might have guessed, are beguilingly NSFW.


More after the jump…

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Erotic engravings from a poem celebrating sex, 1825 (NSFW)
10:12 am



Volumes of vintage erotica are wasted on academics. Just think how many beautiful books filled with lusty, erotic engravings are moldering away under lock and key in some dark, dusty archive. They’re not for our eyes of course but rather for those of a disinterested professor or an ambitious Ph.D. student looking to reinterpret ancient sex manuals from a post-feminist, non-binary, neo-hermetic viewpoint.

Knowledge is power. Having access to knowledge makes us powerful. In the same way, memory can help define who we are, ye olde books can help us understand who we were. That’s probably why I sometimes begrudge all those wonderful books being kept from our grubby little paws—though in truth admit we must have our gatekeepers.

However, thankfully, there are those good people at the Wellcome Library who understand knowledge of the past helps us navigate the present. The Wellcome Library is one of my favorite websites. It is crammed with the most delightful and mind-expanding books, documents and artworks—which these good people have scanned and put online for our edification.

One day browsing through diseases and alike, I chanced upon a fine volume entitled Invocation à l’amour. Chant philosophique published in France in 1825. This is a “rare” and beautiful book containing a long poem celebrating sex and all the various sexual positions. The poem is a literal invocation calling on God the “Father of the human race and of pleasure, Love, come fill me with your divinity. So that from your transports I may render the ecstasies…”

It then goes on to “invoke the nine sisters of Apollo” to ensure everything “follows the supreme law” of well… I guess you’d call it S.E.X. Jane Austen was never like this. But it’s fascinating to find such an early paean to sex and sexuality—which also gives the lie to that hoary old chestnut sex was invented in the swinging sixties by the baby boomers….

It’s a strange and fiery poem which could do with a more nuanced translation than the one offered by Google. But if so inclined, you can read the original text by “A virtuoso of the good fashion” here.

Aside from the sex magick poetry, this slim red-leathered volume has some stunning illustrations. We don’t know who the artist was of these highly explicit engravings but we can at least admire their artistry, imagination and humor.
“The happy calculation.”
“The charms of masturbation.”
More illustrations from ‘Invocation à l’amour,’ after the jump…

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Lusty erotic playing cards from 1955
10:56 am


Paul-Émile Bécat

An erotic Queen of Clubs playing card featuring the artwork of French painter Paul-Émile Bécat.
Here’s a lovely NSFW treat for your eyes today—gorgeous images from a deck of playing cards featuring the erotic art of French painter and printer Paul-Émile Bécat.

This Le Florentin deck of playing cards was put out in 1955 and are in the style of the Old Masters such as his fellow Frenchmen François Boucher and Jean-Antoine Watteau. Bécat’s artistic style so closely emulates an era far earlier than his lifetime it would be quite easy to believe that they were done long before the 1950s. Bécat’s dedication his craft resulted in his work appearing in nearly 100 books, most of which published his erotic paintings and illustrations, some of which have accompanied books by the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Voltaire. What’s especially interesting about Bécat is the fact that he didn’t actually start working in the erotic arena until much later in his life, his mid-40s. Also of interest is that his playing cards come off as tame when compared with his erotic paintings which feature graphic oral sex and other hedonistic scenes—including one taking place in a prison cell complete with handcuffs and chains.

Though there were likely 12,000 of Bécat’s gorgeous decks that once existed they are hard to come by today. I’ve seen fairly pristine examples listed for nearly $600. If you’re a fan of erotic art and are unfamiliar with Bécat, I’m sure you will dig what you’re about to see. Though his work has sadly not yet been compiled in a comprehensive book, there is an incredible paperback, La Vie des Dames Galantes (The Lives of the Gallant Ladies) published in 1948 that I did find here for the tidy sum of $250 (others in various condition can be found here). The book contains 26 hand-colored illustrations by Bécat including lesbian erotica. And as I’ve just mentioned sapphic erotica, oral sex, handcuffs and chains, it’s probably safe to assume the images that follow are NSFW.

The Queen of Clubs from the top of the post rotated to show the opposing illustration.

More after the jump…

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Bonerific: Filthy dirty Japanese carvings of antiquity (NSFW)

Netsuke is type of Japanese miniature sculpture or carving popular around the Edo period, 1615–1868. The word “netsuke” is formed out of the Japanese characters “ne’ and “tsuke” which apparently mean to “root” and “to attach.” Netsuke were originally worn on garments as a means to carry small personal effects—medicine, tobacco, what have you. Over time netsuke changed in use to a decorative and ornamental function.

Netsuke were primarily carved from ivory or bone though wood and whale tooth were also fashionable. The sculptures generally depicted famous people, animals (cute little bunny rabbits were very popular), plants, deities, mythical beasts and sex. These porny carvings were known as shunga netsuke and featured all forms of coitus.

The men in these carvings generally sported humungous dicks and the women always looked rather pleased. But these miniatures were not just novelties—they were considered good luck charms. In Japan a happy sex life had long been associated as a means to safeguard against bad luck. A house with a shunga netsuke over its lintel would be protected from fire. A soldier carrying one would be protected in battle. To own one meant fertility and success. These beautiful and comic little miniatures were considered life-affirming and radiated tolerance and patience. Nowadays this aspect of shunga netsuke is less important as these carvings can sell for several hundred dollars to a thousand plus at auction.
More racy miniatures, after the jump…

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The erotic art of the enema
12:32 pm



Mel Brooks was once on Michael Parkinson’s chat show sometime in the early 1980s where he described the opening scenes to his proposed next movie. Brooks explained he wanted his film to begin like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—but instead of apes he wanted to show a neanderthal standing upright for the first time. His spiel went something like this—I’m gonna paraphrase so deal with it:

It’s early morning—just before dawn. The sun is slowly igniting the horizon. A band of gold appears as the theme from Thus Sprach Zarathustra begins to play under the picture. As the sun rises a group of neanderthals huddle together fearfully watching this magical giant disc rising up like a god. As the music swells a beam of pure golden light radiates across the landscape.

The neanderthals are scared and cower away form this approaching light—all except one who climbs on all fours towards the top of the mountain. As this inquisitive figure moves forward the sun rises. The sky is now fire bright.

The golden orb continues to rise—the neanderthal reaches out to grasp it. He begins to rise up on two legs. First one then the other arm reach out towards the sky. As the music reaches its dramatic climax—the neanderthal is standing teetering on tiptoe arms raised. The neanderthal looks up at the sun. Then slowly at his arms—at his hands—then down at his feet. He has risen up like the sun and now stands upright for the very first time. This creature has liberated his arms to create, to produce and to help him shape a new world. His fellow neanderthals scurry away in fear. As a new day begins the first homo erectus looks at his hands—mesmerized by his fingers, by their potential to grip and move, to adapt and change. He lowers his arms and looks down at them contemplating his new power and the potential now opened to him. The music finishes as this first proto-human looks down considering the significance of his actions. It’s a powerful moment in human evolution. He looks again at his hands—he’s free to use them to help others—to change the world.

And that’s when he starts masturbating.

Human evolution—the progression towards self-gratification.

Which brings us—in roundabout fashion—to these historic and seemingly erotic images depicting the use of the enema in medicine and sex. What begins as a series of etchings often satirically showing women and men seeking much-needed relief for their “night soil” evolves into more recent imagery where the enema is used primarily for sexual gratification. It is apparent that humanity has an unbridled ingenuity for finding gratification from almost anything—vegetables, furniture, house hold appliances and even medicinal treatments.

The drawings and paintings from the twentieth century were produced by various artists who made small change producing illustrations for various editions of erotica. Some names are aliases—most notably Julie Delcourt who may or may not be the pseudonym for Richard Hegemann—a German artist who also worked under the names A. Hegemann, A. Hegener and P. Rollmann. Hegemann excelled in depicting matronly women thrashing supplicant men and badly behaved boys and girls in sailor suits who seemingly relished the whack of their teacher’s belt. Many of Julie Delcourt’s other paintings (not included here) are decidedly NSFW and rather questionable.

An individual who derives pleasure from receiving enemas is called a klismaphiliac.  The term klismaphilia was only coined fairly recently by Dr. Joanne Denko in 1973—which tends to make it seem as if klismaphiliac is only a modern practice. But as can be seen by these illustrations from the the 18th century and more recently the 1920s and 1930s—klismaphilia has a much longer history.
‘A fashionable lady being given an enema by a charming young man’—Dicuelt 18th century.
‘A peeping-tom spying on a fashionable lady receiving an enema’—Pierre-Antoine Baudouin.
More friends or enemas? after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dirty Books of the Rich and Famous: The classic erotica of Édouard-Henri Avril (NSFW)
12:47 pm


Paul Avril
Édouard-Henri Avril

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, long before Playboy and Pornhub and even the camera democratized pornography, the world of erotica was primarily the preserve of the wealthy. Those rich gentleman who could afford it were able to purchase illustrated volumes of limited edition books—-notorious novels like Fanny Hill, or salacious volumes of erotic poetry or even historical guides to sex. These books were limited to one or two hundred copies—this exclusivity meant they were very, very expensive. The stories and the poetry were often times just incidental—an added bonus if you like—to the main attraction: highly explicit and beautifully produced illustrations of all kinds of sexual shenanigans.

The master illustrator of such porn was Édouard-Henri Avril—who produced some of the most beautiful yet full-on erotic illustrations. Little is known about Édouard-Henri Avril other than the usual facts of birth and death. He was born in France on May 21st, 1849. He was the son of a policeman. He fought in the Franco-Prussian war, was wounded in 1870—for which he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur—after which he returned to his art studies. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. On completing his studies he began his career as a commercial artist. But Édouard-Henri also had a secret career as a pornographer.

It was the offer of illustrating Théophile Gautier‘s novel Fortunio that led Édouard-Henri to his secondary career as an artist of erotic illustration. To avoid any family scandal, he adopted the pseudonym “Paul Avril” for this work—which was a tad confusing as he already had a brother called Paul. However, the little known “Paul Avril” was soon the leading artist of the rich man’s dirty books.

His most famous works are those for John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (1887)—the notorious banned tale of a woman of pleasure, Les sonnets luxurieux de l’Aretin (1904), Gautier’s Une nuit de Cléopâtre (1894), Daphnis et Chloé (1898), Flaubert’s Salammbô (1906),  and De figuris Veneris (1906)—an anthology of ancient Greek and Roman erotica compiled by Friedrich Karl Forberg.

Unlike most porn—or at least modern porn—the couples in Avril’s erotica are enjoying each other’s pleasure—as writer TM Bernard notes:

Notice the rapture on the faces of the women, something not usually something seen today, where everything is hot and furious, and a woman’s pleasure is often depicted as secondary to the man’s (and the viewers’). What’s more, the images reveal a total lack of pretense or shame. Whatever is being shared and experienced together is mutual and pleasurable.

This is classic porn. Probably why it cost so much.
Frontispiece to the ‘De Figuris Veneris: A Manual of Classical Erotica’ (1906).
Male masturbation.
Sex with a strap-on dildo.
More illustrated literary porn, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The kitschy erotic art of Suzanne Ballivet (NSFW)
09:39 am


Suzanne Ballivet

The great Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir sanded the corners off his wooden furniture so there could be no sharp edges against which his children could accidentally injure themselves. It was a nice idea—but not altogether practical as the furniture—the hard substance—against which his offspring could accidentally injure themselves was still very much present.

This story came to mind while looking at the erotic artwork of French artist Suzanne Ballivet. Firstly, because of their style many of her drawings reminded me of Renoir—and to some extent those artists to be found camped out on the streets of Paris who sketch kitschy portraits of tourists where the faces are always smiling and almost cherubic.

Secondly, just as Renoir sanded his furniture to soften the blow, Ballivet produced sensuous—often highly explicit—erotic images in a very twee, kitsch and populist manner—like the overly sweet images found on Christmas cards or shortbread tins or hanging on an elderly relative’s wall. The style may look soft but the content is undoubtedly hard.

Suzanne Ballivet was born in Paris in 1904. She was the daughter of local photographer Jules Ballivet—who was best known for his photographs of Montpellier in the south of France. Ballivet became a costume designer in theater before finding her true métier in the 1940s as an artist producing comic and often explicit illustrations for magazines and classic works of erotic literature like Pierre Louÿs’ Les Chansons de Bilitis, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs.

Ballivet also illustrated several other literary works by Balzac, Rimbaud, Raymond Radiguet, Anatole France, Mirabeau, Charles Dickens and mores contemporary writers like Collette, Raymond Peynet and Albert Dubout—who she married in 1968.

Though Ballivet’s work is best known in France, her pioneering erotic art has influenced a whole generation of succeeding graphic artists and illustrators of erotica and is eminently collectible.
More erotic art from Suzanne Ballivet, after the jump…

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Antique erotic cigarette cases from the early 20th century
11:24 am


cigarette cases

Erotic-themed cigarette case from Sweden, 1910.
In order to protect the somewhat delicate hand-rolled cigarettes that were sold during the early part of the 20th century, fashionable cigarette cases crafted in gold, silver or other precious materials started popping up in the hands of elite members of society all around the world.

These cases became a venue for artists to use their handiwork to produce images that would appeal to all kinds of customers, including those who enjoyed gazing at erotic images while enjoying a relaxing smoke. Born out of function cigarette cases became decadent pieces of art. Even the posh egg-man Peter Carl Fabergé designed cigarette cases in the late 19th century that were ornately decorated with precious jewels such as diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. While Fabergé‘s fancy cigarette cases were fit for the gentry or royal crowds, the “erotic” themed cases in this post were probably not flashed around by members of the upper-class or aristocracy while in mixed company.

Due to their age they are quite hard to come by and the exquisite cases have been known to fetch anywhere from $3000 to $9000 when they come up for auction at Christie’s or Sotheby’s. Occasionally these authentic era-specific cases do pop up on sites like Etsy and eBay but even then they can run several hundred dollars a pop. I’ve got a number of beautiful erotic cigarette cases for you to look at below—that said, though they are incredible works of vintage art (some of which are over 100 years old), they are NSFW.

Germany, early 1900s.

Vienna, 1913.


Germany, 1910.
More after the jump…

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Kinky erotic portraits of Yukio Mishima

In 1961, a young photographer named Eikoh Hosoe was asked by writer Yukio Mishima to take his portrait picture. It was a humbling yet surprising commission. Mishima was then Japan’s greatest living novelist—the author tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Hosoe was relatively unknown. The commission made Hosoe deeply curious as to why the great Mishima had chosen him.

When they met in the small garden at Mishima’s house, the author anticipated Hosoe’s question:

“I loved your photographs of Tatsumi Hijikata. I want you to photograph me like that, so I asked my editor to call you.”

“Mr. Mishima, do you mean I can photograph you in my own way?” I asked.

“Yes, I am your subject matter. Photograph me however you please, Mr. Hosoe,” he replied.

All my questions and anxiety faded.

The photographs Mishima so greatly admired were the ones Hosoe had taken of the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata. 

Hijikata was an originator of Butoh—an apocalytpic dance form developed in Japan after the Second World War in opposition to western influence. Mishima had similarly broken away from the prevailing western influence that had altered Japan after the war and during the 1950s. Mishima wanted a return of the Emperor and the ancient samurai traditions.

Mishima had been a puny kid. As he matured he changed his body through rigorous exercise and weight-lifting to become toned and highly athletic. His books often deal with the theme of the split between intellectual ambitions and the man of action.

His first novel Confessions of a Mask examined the “reluctant masquerade” between the perceived and actual life. Mishima was bisexual. He was married with two children but had an intense and active gay life. He was a sadomasochist, who believed in the living of a life through force of will. A life that he claimed adhered to the strict codes of the samurai. His books were fixed in this tradition—though his subject matter was preoccupied with sex and death. This led many critics in the west to misunderstand Mishima. One of my collegues here label him as a cross between “Proust and Jeffrey Dahmer.”

That fine day in September 1961, Hosoe quickly realized Mishima did not want a banal author portrait:

In offering himself as the “subject matter” of my photographs, I thought he might have wanted to become a dancer himself. I was still in my twenties then, so I was naïve. I did not make the distinction between an international literary figure and a dancer.

Mishima’s father happened to be watering the garden, so I grabbed his hose, and I wrapped Mishima’s entire body in the hose and kept him standing in the center of the zodiac, where he was planning to erect a statue of Apollo.

I asked him to look up and concentrate on my camera, which I was holding from a ladder above. I shouted, “Keep looking at my lens very intensely, Mr. Mishima! Okay, that’s great, keep going . . .” He never blinked while I shot two rolls of 35mm film. “I am proud of my ability to keep my eyes open for minutes,” said Mishima.

“I have never been photographed like this,” he said. “Why did you do it in this way?”

“This is the destruction of a myth,” I replied.

“You should wrap the hose around Haruo Sato,” he laughed. Haruo Sato was considered to be a literary giant at that time. But what I really meant was that I wanted to destroy the preconceived ideas about Mishima’s image in order to create a new Mishima.

After the shoot, Hosoe thought he may have gone too far. Two days later, Mishima phoned him to say he loved the photographs and wanted to collaborate with Hosoe on some more.

Over a period of six months Hosoe worked with Mishima on a series photographs which he hoped would capture the writer’s soul. These were eventually published as a book—with text by Mishima—called Ba-ra-kei or Ordeal by Roses.

In November 1970, Mishima together with four members of his secret army attempted a military coup. They broke into the eastern headquarters of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces taking the commanding officer prisoner. Mishima demanded 800 soldiers gather outside the offices to hear a speech and a list of demands he had written. Mishima hoped this speech would inspire the troops to rebel against the corruption of western influence and join his rebellion. Mishima wanted an end of democracy and a return of the Emperor. His rebellion was a literal union of the artist and man of action changing history.

The troops laughed and jeered as the author spoke. The coup failed. Mishima returned inside where he committed seppuku (self-disembowelment) before one of his soldiers attempted to decapitate him. After several blows failed to remove his head, another of his soldiers eventually managed to decapitate Mishima.

Mishima’s biographer John Nathan suggested this military coup was only a pretext for Mishima’s ritual suicide—something he had long dreamed about. In his short story “Patriotism” Mishima described an idealized seppuku where the central character pulls a blade across his abdomen cutting himself open:

The vomiting made the fierce pain fiercer still, and the stomach, which had thus far remained firm and compact, now abruptly heaved, opening wide its wound, and the entrails burst through, as if the wound too were vomiting. . . . The entrails gave an impression of robust health and almost disagreeable vitality as they slipped smoothly out and spilled over into the crotch. . . . A raw smell filled the room.

Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima taken in 1961 and 1962 capture the author’s terrible beauty, eroticism and conflicted sadomasochistic nature.
More of Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Stunning Erotic Tattoos
10:31 am


Sad Amish

I don’t have any tattoos but if ever I do consider getting one then I certainly could be tempted by these beautiful erotic tattoos by Bordeaux-based tattoo artist Sad Amish.

Unlike the more traditional ship’s anchors, bluebirds, Celtic doodles or Pictish script Sad Amish’s stunning monochrome tattoos are high quality graphic art with a wonderfully charged eroticism.

The tattoos feature women artfully posed in bondage gear, fetish wear or playfully fondling a bong while enjoying a mouthful of vin blanc. All beautifully rendered in the deepest blackest ink.

More of Sad Amish’s work can be viewed here.
More of Sad Amish’s fab monochrome skin art, after the jump…

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Erotic French postcards from the early 1900s (NSFW)
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Jean Agelou
French postcards

Erotic postcards were the pornography of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Small pocket-sized cards with a risque photograph on one side and a postcard design on the other. They were mainly produced in Paris—which led to their appellation French postcards.

Despite their name these postcards were never intended to be sent via the mail. Posting one could have led to a charge of obscenity, a hefty fine and a possible term in gaol. They were collectible erotica—sold through bookshops and photographic studios and certain gentlemen’s establishments. Due to their pornographic nature, the cards were sold surreptitiously—quite literally under the counter and discretely hidden in brown paper bags.

The earliest French postcards date from circa 1870s. These featured clothed or semi-clothed women posing like classic Greek statues. By the 1900s, the images were far more provocative and titillating. The women were usually naked or captured disrobing in their boudoirs—Tom porn—adding a frisson of voyeurism to the mix.

Jean Agélou (1878-1921) was a one of the best known photographers of nude and erotic photography. He was a master of producing the perfect French postcard. He photographed in his studio, using daylight to illuminate the scene. He had his favourite models—including his lover Fernande Barrey 9 (who also posed for Modigliani) and the theatrical star Maud d’Orbay. The photographs were generally made by a creative collaboration between model and photographer.

By today’s standards Agélou’s photographs would not look out of place in a copy of Vanity Fair or the American Apparel catalog. In 1908, France outlawed nude photographs—which made Agélou’s postcards all the more desirable.

Agélou’s erotic postcards were printed and distributed by his brother Georges. Due to the clandestine nature of the work, it is difficult to assess how many erotic photographs Agélou actually produced during his brief lifetime—which makes his work all the more collectible today. Jean and Georges were killed in a car accident in 1921.
Maud d’Orby—a singer, dancer and star of operetta.
More of Jean Agélou’s erotic photography, after the jump…

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Strange, Seductive and Surreal Erotica from 1920-30’s Vienna

Atelier Manassé was a highly successful photographic studio established by husband and wife team Adorján von Wlássics (1893 - 1946) and Olga Solarics (1896 - 1969) in Austria in 1924—though some sources cite 1922.

Principally based in Vienna—with a smaller office in Berlin—the studio flourished during the 1920s and 1930s. It was known for producing highly flattering portrait photography of film, theater and cabaret stars. It could be said Adorján and Olga were the airbrush pioneers of their day—artfully painting out any blemishes or wrinkles and reducing the unsightly flab from legs and waists. The resulting photographs were mass produced and sold to fans as much sought after postcards.

But Atelier Manassé did not just specialise in lucrative publicity photographs—it also produced a vast array of erotica. In particular Olga dedicated herself to producing highly original nude photography which is credited with establishing the “pin-up” long before Playboy magazine. But Olga’s work was far superior and far more influential than any cheesecake photography—it drew on many avant garde ideas and cherry-picked styles from Surrealism and Expressionism. More importantly, Olga’s photography presented liberated images of women—relishing their own sexuality, their own bodies and their power of seduction.

There is a dedicated collectors market for Atelier Manassé photographs and even magazines all being sold at auctions and online for a goodly sum.

The following are some of the more Surreal and seductive photographs that typify the best of Atelier Manassé‘s erotica.
More beautiful photographs from Atelier Manassé, after the jump…

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