Jeune femme avec rose (Young Woman with Rose), 1950

In early 2011 an extensive body of Sylvain Vigny’s work came up for sale, which led to several exhibitions and many new discoveries. The main exhibition, ‘Autour de Sylvain Vigny’, was held at the Galerie Sintitulo in Nice.

Included in the sale was this portfolio of erotic paintings, probably the only actual such portfolio Vigny produced, though many individual drawings survive. They are also among his most explicitly sexual work. Each of the eight small paintings is skilfully executed in a combination of Indian ink, watercolour and gouache, and appear to have been made very quickly. In the sale they were described as having been made between 1940 and 1950, but we think they are earlier than that, having more in common with the Verlaine drawings than with his later work.