This anonymous portfolio is considered one of the classics of the genre, its rarity and the explicit nature of many of the images placing it firmly in the ‘grand masculine angst’ period of 1920s erotic art. That angst appears in several flavours, including some racist fear of dangerous Chinese elements, sadistic sex, and macabre connections between sex and death. There is, however, some shared pleasure to be found, for example in ‘69’ and ‘Le miroir de Lesbos’. Les erreurs de l’amour (The Mistakes of Love) seems rather an inadequate description of the portfolio’s content.

The captions for the eighteen images varies slightly from portfolio to portfolio; number 15 for example is sometimes titled ‘La soubrette’ and sometimes ‘La merveille’. These are the titles of this set:

  1   Assassinat avec viol  (Murder with rape)
  2   Religieuse (The nun)
  3   La marquise de Sade  (The Marquise de Sade)
  4   Schopenhauer
  5   En deux (Both together)
  6   69
  7   La belle-mère méchante  (The wicked stepmother)
  8   Le jardin du tourment  (The garden of torment)
  9   Fêtes de Chine (Chinese festival)
10   La visite (The visit)
11   Le miroir de Lesbos  (The mirror of Lesbos)
12   Corps angle aigü (Acute body angle)
13   La visite (The visit)
14   Puissance (Potency)
15   La merveille (The marvel)
16   Le profaneur de cadaver (The graverobber)
17   Goût singulier (Particular taste)
18   Fêtes de Chine (Chinese festival)

Les erreurs de l’amour was privately published, probably in Prague, and in a limited numbered edition of no more than 100 copies.

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.