Dancer, c.1930

Very little is known about this limited edition portfolio of Sternberg prints, of which the only copy we have been able to identify is that sold in 2020 by the specialist bookseller Bertrand Hugonnard-Roche at his Librairie l’amour qui bouquine. Although none of the twelve prints is signed, both style and subject matter are unmistakably Sternberg. Closer examination suggests that he used some of the same models as appear in Légende des sexes and Roi Pausole, though maybe they are just Sternberg’s interpretation of late 1920s female beauty.

Sapphism (aka lesbianism) was a popular theme for illustrators, both male and female, in the 1920s and early 30s. As we learn from memoirs of the period, at least some in the artistic circles of cities like Paris, Berlin and Vienna were actively involved in exploring the whole gamut of sexual possibilities.