Erotic: Passion & Desire Highlights

777l17322-92s8h-a-circ.jpg
Launch Slideshow

The Erotic: Passion & Desire sale in London on 16 February features representations of love and sex from antiquity to the present day. The varied works range from 19th century furniture to fine art, photography to contemporary sculpture. To accompany the auction, we have invited Rowan Pelling, who edited the monthly literary erotic magazine, the Erotic Review, to be the guest editor. There will be a pre-sale exhibition at Sotheby’s New Bond Street from Saturday 11 until Wednesday 15 February. Click ahead to see highlights from the sale.

WARNING Please be advised that this sale includes images of nudity and images of a sexual nature which some viewers may consider indecent.

Erotic: Passion & Desire
16 February | London

Erotic: Passion & Desire Highlights

  • Jacques Loysel, La Grande Névrose, white marble, circa 1896.
    Estimate 120,000–180,000.
    La Grande Névrose – considered until the end of his career Loysel’s absolute masterpiece – remained in the sculptor’s atelier until his death in 1925. The fascinating ambiguity of Loysel’s masterpiece lies in the oscillation between carnal ecstasy and painful exaltation. Loysel was ostensibly depicting the theme of hysteria, as this was an unparalleled opportunity to represent a human body in total tension, yet its manifestation is of an eminently sensual character.



    View Lot


  • Lucian Freud, Blond Girl, 1985. Estimate £40,000–60,000. Lucian Freud, Man Posing 11,27, 1985. Estimate £15,000–20,000.
    Lucian Freud’s highly expressive works were noted for their fullness of form and exacting honesty – exemplifying his contribution to the grand tradition of the nude.



    View Lot 90
    View Lot 3

  • Marc Quinn, Maquette for Siren, 2008. Estimate £70,000–90,000.
    Marc Quinn’s depiction of supermodel Kate Moss is of the definitive contemporary Venus - the epitome of luxury and desirability elevated to the status of a goddess from antiquity. The series is one of the most recognisable examples of contemporary British sculpture, and is emblematic of the status of celebrities and supermodels. Speaking about the work, Quinn said: “It’s called Siren, because in a sense it represents everything that lures people to wreck themselves on the rocks: money, perfection, unattainable images – all these things."



    View Lot

  • Egon Schiele, Akt (Nude), 1917. Estimate £180,000–250,000.
    Executed in 1917, Akt (Nude) is a prime example of the Egon Schiele’s late work when he returned to Vienna following his military service during the First World War. In a clear departure from his early nudes, Schiele no longer crops the figure radically nor does the drawing carry any overtly erotic connections. Rather, the body is portrayed intact with greater realism. Most of his effort is now directed towards capturing the plasticity of the human form, the density of the flesh and the solidity of the muscle. The artist sets the figure on the page with unflinching confidence, allowing her to be without support or visible context.



    View Lot

  • Robert Mapplethorpe, ‘Bow and Arrow’ (Lisa Lyon), 1981.
    Estimate £6,000–8,000.
    Bow and Arrow by Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the great masters of art photography, is a highly stylised black and white nude that condenses Mapplethorpe’s search for aesthetic perfection.



    View Lot

  • Pablo Picasso, Nu couché, 1972. Estimate £60,000–80,000.
    The nude is a constant theme spanning every era and medium explored by Pablo Picasso, and this example demonstrates emblematic motifs of exaggeration of female attributes and his adoration of his numerous muses. The freedom and spontaneity of Picasso’s extraordinary drawings are testament to his natural flair as a draughtsman. This drawing was executed in 1972 when, aged 91, Picasso’s own physical stamina had inevitably waned, yet his focus on erotic subjects in his paintings and drawings only intensified.



    View Lot

  • Antony Gormley, Pole II, 2012. Estimate £280,000–450,000.
    Gormley is one of the best known and most critically acclaimed artists working in Britain today. His sculptures focus on the dynamic relationship between the human body and the space it inhabits, probing wider concerns about our place within nature and the universe. In the complex interrelation between the blocks that comprise Pole II , the artist also turns the gaze inwards, exploring and exposing the body as a ‘place’ within its own right: the site for the self.



    View Lot

  • Japanese Erotic (Shunga) handscroll Edo Period, late 17th-century. Estimate £30,000–40,000.
    Free from any Christian identification of sex with sin, Japanese Shunga art was explicit about sex creating a luxurious ‘utopia of pleasure’.



    View Lot

  • An exceptional carved mahogany bed, second half 19th-century.
    Estimate £500,000–800,000.
    The precise history of this unique commission remains shrouded in history, yet it has traditionally been associated with the legendary Hôtel de la Païva, the Champs-Elysée love nest of Esther Lachmann - the richest and most notorious demi-mondaine of the Second Empire. The matchless bateau-lit found its way into ‘La Fleur Blanche’, the notorious and celebrated brothel at 6 Rue des Moulins. Frequented by international high society, it was most notably where artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec set up his easel - in whose biography the bed is described in detail.



    View Lot

  • Helmut Newton, ‘Domestic Nude III: In the Laundry Room at the Château Marmont Hollywood’, 1992. Estimate £40,000–60,000.
    Arguably one of the world’s most influential photographers, Helmut Newton revolutionised fashion photography through his inimitable erotic and provocative poses. Newton’s compositions are classically and subtly constructed in black and white, with a playful and voyeuristic style. He surrounded himself with gorgeous, stylish women, and his arresting images of them demonstrate their strength and potency.



    View Lot

  • A Roman Marble Group of Two Lovers, circa 1st/2nd Century A.D. Estimate £180,000–220,000.
    Marble sculptures depicting human couples engaged in lovemaking appear rarely in Roman art, and this work is one of only four known examples.



    View Lot

  • Pavel Tchelitchew, Bathers, 1938. Estimate £300,000–500,000.
    Bathers depicts the Tchelitchew’s partner, the writer and publisher Charles Henri Ford – recognisable on the left wearing his incongruous pink hat – and centre stage, the aggressively foreshortened figure of the New York City Ballet dancer Nicholas Magallanes. The painting once hung on the bedroom wall of one of the 20th-century’s most famous grands horizontals and a first-hand account recollects that it was occasionally hung upside down or upon the ceiling.



    View Lot

  • A Roman Marble Torso of Pan, circa 2nd Century A.D.
    Estimate £40,000–60,000.
    The ithyphallic sculpture of goat-legged shepherd deity Pan with his hands bound alludes to a mythological episode in which the Nymphs unite to punish him for his unwanted advances. Of two other known Roman marble replicas of this type, one is on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



    View Lot

  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, First, 2003. Estimate £60,000–80,000.
    Yiadom-Boakye has been gaining increasing recognition in the art world in recent years – shortlisted for the Turner prize in 2013 and celebrated with an exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 2015. Using sources that are distinctly non-contemporary, her works are entrenched in the history of painting and devices of traditional portraiture - influenced by the likes of Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Walter Sickert. This semi-nude smoulders with vivid red tones, and as with the remainder of her oeuvre the protagonist is unambiguously empowered.



    View Lot

  • Ettore Sottsass, ‘Shiva’ Vase, designed 1973. Estimate £200–300.
    Breaking with the minimalist aesthetic that characterised furniture design in the 1970s, Ettore Sottsass and the Milan-based Memphis group revolutionised cutting-edge design, introducing fun, humour and strikingly bold colour combinations. This resulted in countless irreverent designs such as the Shiva vase – named after one of the principal deities of Hinduism.



    View Lot

  • Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem and studio, Jupiter disguised as Diana seducing the nymph Callisto. Estimate £30,000–40,000.
    This elegant scene of seduction is inspired by an episode recounted by the poet Ovid in Metamorphoses. It depicts the bare-breasted nymph Callisto, Diana’s favourite, embraced by the god Jupiter in the guise of the goddess herself. The son of renowned still-life painter Pieter Claesz., Nicolaes Berchem was an important and influential figure of the Dutch Golden Age.



    View Lot

  • A couple making acrobatic love on a lake, Mewar, North India, 18th-century. Estimate £2,000–3,000.
    The treatment of love in Indian art is as diverse as the literature on the subject, whose topics range from the secrets of love, to the light of love, the garland of love, the sprout of love or of course the well-known Kama Sutra.



    View Lot

  • Gustav Klimt, Liegender Halbakt Nach Rechts (Half-nude reclining to the right), 1914-15. Estimate £120,000–150,000.
    Gustav Klimt once stated that ‘all art is erotic’. This powerful and arresting image of a female nude , in which the woman’s pose is unambiguously erotic, is presented without any assigned narrative - transforming the model into an object of the viewer’s desire. The sitter's unknowing expression, which suggests an innocence or even vulnerability, reflects the importance of the gaze of the artist and sharpness of his eye.



    View Lot

  • A Green Glass Fertility Talisman, Persian, 10th-Century.
    Estimate £4,000–6,000.
    Of characteristic phallic form, this talisman draws on an ancient cult tradition centring on fertility, whose potency endured in the Islamic period.



    View Lot

/
Close

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

By continuing to use our Site, you consent to our use of cookies and to the practices described in our updated Privacy Policy.

Close