Like Hans Bellmer, whose controversial À Sade portfolio had appeared forty years earlier, Alexander Pavlenko is fascinated by the writings and ideas of Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade. Sade believed absolutely in the free satisfaction of sexual instincts to explore sensuality and creativity, and that the dark forces lurking in the soul of every human being can usefully be explored in the pursuit of creative understanding.

This portfolio of privately-commissioned Sade drawings documents the limits of sexuality, exploring a variety of drawing techniques from detailed compositions to deceptively simple lines to convey the depth and variety of sexual experience.

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.