From Casanova to Alfred de Musset’s Gamiani, Leytho tries his hand at one of the best-known French erotic narratives, appropriately titling his version Der Exzess. ‘Exzess’ in German suggests more than the English word ‘excess’, tending more towards ‘outrage’ or ‘violent incident’, and it is interesting that Leytho called this portfolio Excess rather than the better-known-in-France title Gamiani – he probably knew that it would help sell the portfolio to a German-speaking client. And Leytho’s version adds more priests and women to Musset’s narrative, so Exzess is maybe a more accurate description of this, his most adventurous and ‘best’ effort at erotic illustration.

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.