An alternative interpretation of pipi-fax …

In German, if you want to tell someone not to get too upset about something fairly trivial, you might well say ‘Wegen so einem Pipifax brauchst du dich doch nicht so aufzuregen!’ (You don’t need to get so worked up about such nonsense!). It’s in this vein that Pipifax the Unknown Caricaturist created a portfolio of grotesque images to demonstrate what a nonsense all this stuff about sex is.

Unfortunately nobody seems to know the identity of Pipifax. Most sources who venture a guess link these prints with Max Liebermann (1847–1935), one of the leading proponents of impressionism in Germany, but everything from the date and the handwriting of the captions to Liebermann’s graphic style make this almost impossibly unlikely. Other candidates include Nicolas Sternberg, Fritz Erler and Rezsö Merényi – if forced to choose, we would probably say Erler.

Example illustration