A sale celebrating the overtly risqué from art history forms the focus of an erotic art sale at Bloomsbury Auctions in Maddox Street, London.
Offered on June 29, it features more than 150 racy books, photographs and works on paper, from ‘obscene’ 17th century poetry to a print of Man Ray’s (1890-1976) famous Le Violon d’Ingres and a series of nude photographs by China Hamilton (b.1946).
The sale is being offered just four months after Sotheby’s held its first-ever erotic art auction in London in February.
Among the items offered is an early illustration produced by the English sculptor Anthony Gormley (b.1950) while a student at Cambridge. The illustration forms part of the first and only edition of Origo 3, published in Cambridge in c.1970. Other illustrations in the publication include those by Marta Lombard, John Fullerton, Peter Freeman and the editor Paul-René Sieveking.
Gormley, who was studying archaeology, anthropology and art history at the time, took his inspiration from the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, in which the god Zeus, disguised as a bird, seduces the princess Leda.
Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford describes the work as “a very modern, insouciant look” at the classical encounter, with a “combination of violent obscenity with apparent boredom, very much in the long tradition of the scene’s depiction”.
The artwork pre-dates any other Gormley artwork according to his website, and states the ‘year zero’ of his artistic career as 1981.
The publication is estimated at £1800-2200.