‘Liebesfreude’ means ‘The Joy of Love’, and this collection of brightly-coloured prints by Naager show that his personal and financial setbacks had not resulted in complete disillusion. In many ways they had had the opposite effect, freeing him to follow his first artistic love, that of making beautiful designs on paper. Using a similar technique of blocks of colour as he had earlier in his wallpaper designs, Franz Naager created compositions which are both erotic and aesthetically ageless.
This is the only portfolio of prints he produced, though many individual designs have survived using a similar technique and colour palette.
Here Naager uses his Italian pseudonym, ‘Antonio Francesco’, almost certainly in homage to the Baroque Italian painter Antonio Francesco Peruzzini. For some of his prints he also used the pseudonym ‘Franzéros’.
Liebesfreude was privately printed in a limited numbered edition of 200 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.
A warning: a series of drawings which look very like Naager’s Liebesfreude have recently been advertised on auction sites including Catawiki and eBay, purporting to be by an artist called Norbert Birmoser or ‘BiMo’ and selling for a vastly-inflated price. As far as we can tell, no such artist exists and these are clever plagiarisms of Naager’s work.