Gruss (Greeting), 1921

In his 1931 survey of erotic art, Irrgarten der Erotik (The Erotic Labyrinth) Paul Englisch writes glowingly of Boris’s Erotische Phantasien (Erotic Fantasies), ‘in which events taken from life are expressed in minimalist engravings. In terms of invention and expression, these drawings, economically created by a great talent, are among the best that have recently been created in this field.’

We know nothing of Boris’s personal life in Paris and Munich, but it is clear from this series that he thought a lot about sex and intimate relating, illustrating those thoughts with witty and pertinent comments on how people imagine and respond to the erotic aspects of daily life. The captions he added to each of the 64 numbered drawings add another dimension (especially helpful if you read German).

Erotische Phantasien was published in Paris in a limited edition of 150 copies. The first twenty drawings had earlier been published in Budapest in 1919 under the title Ekel (Distaste), with a 36-plate version appearing a year later. This 64-plate edition is the most complete, and includes all the earlier drawings.

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.