Ležeća Žena (Reclining Woman), 1910

Like many other figurative artists of the period, Auer had a thriving sideline in provocatively naked and semi-naked women, often using allegorical and literary themes as a pretext for showing a daring amount of flesh. And when a wealthy Zagreb client requested a little more, he was not averse to producing explicitly sexual canvases, such as this series, Mlada Ljubav or Young Love.

In April 2018 the Museo Marton in Zagreb put on a special exhibition of Robert Auer’s work, including this series, which had been spread across several private collections but brought together for the first time since they were created more than a century earlier.

Napredak Vremena (The Progress of Time), 1903

The paintings are designed to show innocent young intimacy in domestic settings of the period, two of them including the accoutrements of an artist, leaving us wondering about the nature of artist–model agreements at the time.