When this folder of ink and colour wash drawings was made, the First World War was recently over and Schiff was in his early fifties, an established portrait painter with a professional reputation to maintain. At the same time, it is clear that his imagination often wandered to more socially questionable concerns, in this case the sexually-charged setting of the brothels of Vienna.

Fantasy or personal experience? He certainly wasn’t afraid to sign his works, and regularly painted nudes and models in naked make-believe poses which were sometimes reproduced as postcards for the delectation of discerning gentlemen.

Aus der Wolke (Out of the Cloud), 1922

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.