Bulgarian-born painter Julius Mordecai Pincas changed his name when he was twenty to Jules Pascin (pronounced ‘paskeen’) because his father objected to the family name being associated with the ‘decadent’ art his offspring was contributing to the satirical German magazine Simplicissimus. Jules responded by removing himself to Paris to join the mass migration of artists to the city of artistic freedom. From then until his suicide at the age of forty-five (he suffered throughout his life from depression and associated alcoholism) he was always drawing and painting in a frenzy of creativity, a restlessness which extended to his intimate relationships, primarily with fellow artist Hermine David who he eventually married, but with several other lovers, including Norwegian painter Per Krohg’s wife Lucy.
Jules Pascin’s life and work (he has a good biographer in Gaston Diehl and a multi-volume Catalogue raisonné by Abel and Gérard Rambert) is throughly documented, with plenty of examples of his erotic work – he was always drawing women, usually naked or partly dressed – available online. Here we concentrate on works that were produced specifically in book or portfolio format.
The illustrated alphabet which Pascin produced with the prolific erotic writer Pierre Mac Orlan is shown here; we would also like to show all nine engravings from the 1933 portfolio Erotikon, which was published in ‘Brussels’ (but actually Paris) in an edition of just forty copies, but have so far only succeeded in identifying three of the prints. If you can help us to reproduce the whole portfolio we would love to hear from you.