Published as a portfolio of twelve engravings in 1930, Spasmes was Frans de Geetere’s most successful self-publishing project, one which had probably been in gestation for several years.
In his short preface to the portfolio, he wrote: ‘With this set of plates I do not hope to seduce the amateur collector of libertine prints. This is not their usual fare. There is nothing in these etchings that can be used as titillation. They do not display the coyness dear to the idealists of pornography, the white and pink delicacies preferred by well-bred onanists, nor nether parts so thoroughly washed with bidet water that one might think them made of porcelain. The love I have represented is not so distinguished. I have chosen to portray anxiety, violence and spasm, for this is undoubtedly true poetry. I do not care to please people who imagine love as sexual kindness, and its representation as the sign of genteel rendezvous.’ This is probably the closest we get to Frans de Geetere’s personal philosophy of sensual intimacy, and its sentiments are well-matched by these sensitive etchings.
150 copies of the portfolio were produced. Being loose prints in a folder many copies were sold as individual prints, which resulted in complete sets becoming increasingly rare.