Loïc Dubigeon was commissioned to create illustrations to accompany Pauline Réage’s Histoire d’O when the illustrated book publisher Editions Borderie saw some of Dubigeon’s nudes at an exhibition in Munich. For the history of this much-acclaimed novel see the Leonor Fini illustrations for the novel here.
Dubigeon produced nearly a hundred detailed drawings for the project, an outpouring of creativity showing his careful draughtsmanship and original compositional skills to best advantage. If ever an illustrator demonstrated what fully-experienced sexual encounter looks and feels like, it is in these illustrations for Histoire d’O.
The book contains an introduction to Dubigeon’s work, which explains the relationship of the drawings to the original novel.
Illustrating a literary work is an exercise which has always been favoured by editors anxious to win over readers which the supposed aridity of words might discourage. Yet some of the greatest writers, including Kafka and Flaubert, regularly expressed their strongest disapproval about illustrated editions of their works being published.
The Story of O, it goes without saying, is a great book, and its sumptuous prose would surely be reduced, mutilated, debased by images. And so one must praise Loïc Dubigeon for not having illustrated, strictly speaking, the most celebrated erotic text of our times. Instead he has given free rein to his imagination in his reading of The Story of O. It would be pointless to search for specific scenes from the book; rather we find the illustration of the book’s themes– leather, whips, bodies, intimacies, upon which Dubigeon’s talent bestows his own unique hyper-realist dimension.
Here we are presented with a new work of art, one which leaves Pauline Réage’s book entirely intact.