A plate from Erlebnisse eines 16jährigen Mädchens, 1925

Bénis’s etching technique definitely improved between Bohémien and Halbjungfrau, Wanda and Lucette. The characters are still static and stylised, but both figures and backgrounds are more detailed and the compositions better thought through. We can’t help wondering whether the title of this portfolio, Die Halbjungfrau (The Semi-Virgin), also marked an important development in the artist’s personal life.

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.