Absinthe Robette poster, 1896, probably Privat-Livemont’s best-known image

Very little of Henri Privat-Livemont’s explicitly erotic work has survived, but the quality and variety of what is known leaves us wishing there were much more. He was clearly much taken with the idea of a virile tree spirit who found ways of attracting and mating with willing young women; here we have three pencil drawings and three detailed and expertly-composed pen and ink drawings on this potent theme.

Possibly even more overtly and originally, we have five of Privat-Livemont’s ink and watercolour sketches for genitally-themed patterns and friezes, showing clearly the influence of his training in interior design. If these designs had ever been produced commercially, there might have been a considerable demand for the decoration of appropriate boudoirs; who knows, they may even have been produced for exactly such a commission.

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.