As everyone knows, good sex is supposed to be all about performance, or at least trying out interesting positions, so this wonderfully innovative portfolio of simply-executed prints from around 1930 should provide plenty of ideas. Dancers, tightrope walkers, acrobats, lion tamers, clowns and orchestra are all included in this extended performance, and even the big top and the interval are part of the action. The French misspellings and the rather grotesque and absurd imagery reflect the Hungarian origins of this amusing portfolio – the artwork is too humorous for German artists and too simply drawn for French ones.
As well as this coloured version with its French titles, Guncser’s portfolio was also published just in black, on a pale yellow background, with the title Grand Circus Guncser. The black-only version was published in both Hungarian and French editions, with appropriate plate captions.
Guncser added an introduction to Le cirque, as follows: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, have you ever seen such an admirably constructed circus ring as the one we are going to show you here? Come in quickly, ladies and gentlemen, our performance will begin immediately! Hundreds of men, women and children will perform several times a day in this wonderful circus of the twentieth century, sparing neither their strength nor their efforts. Here you will find as never seen before all that the most perfect mind and the most refined taste, with the help of the sciences and the arts, has ever invented. Take your seats, my dear ladies and gentlemen! Gentlemen, you will be amused by all kinds of charming dancers and well-built acrobats! And you, ladies, will have at your disposal that precious object displayed by tame dogs and donkeys as well as by athletes and clowns!’
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.