Der Traum der Jungfrau (The Virgin’s Dream) is one of the few complete themed portfolios created by Otto Schatz, or at least ones that have survived. Significantly, it dates from the period not long after the National Socialist government had first imposed an exhibition ban, and then a personal professional ban, on Schatz.

When he returned to Vienna late in 1945, recently-divorced and with only his surviving paintings, he initially found it hard to make a living in the struggle for survival; he did, however, find a ready market for some of his erotic work among Allied occupation soldiers, which is thought to be how this important portfolio survived.

The ‘virgin’s dream’ so explicitly illustrated in this series of watercolours reflects Schatz’s fantasy of such a dream, the illustrations depicting young girls surrounded and beset by larger-than-life phalluses, as well as being penetrated by monstrous snakes and octopuses.

The art writer Julius Klinger wrote of Schatz’s erotic watercolours that ‘they are among the best that have ever been created in the field of Germanic art’.

We are very grateful to Hans-Jürgen Döpp for these images; Hans-Jürgen, the compiler of many books on erotic art, curates the Venusberg online gallery and bookshop which you can find here.