Gamiani is one of the most perennially popular and most-often illustrated of all erotic texts, and here we have one of several anonymous artists trying their hand at a set of sanguine (blood-red) drawings to accompany this fantastic and salacious text. Gamiani was first published in 1833, and is generally believed to have been written by Alfred de Musset. Subtitled ‘Two Nights of Excess’, and based on de Musset’s experiences with George Sand and her lesbian lover, Gamiani opens with Alcide watching Countess Gamiani and her young lover Fanny enjoying one another’s bodies. Very much aroused, Alcide reveals himself and joins them, and they spend the rest of their time together sharing their intimate stories and re-enacting scenes from them. The varied scenarios in the narrative include sexual encounters with a monkey, a donkey, and a hanged man. The unsigned plates from the first illustrated edition of Gamiani have been variously attributed to Achille Devéria and Octave Tassaert.
Brunner’s illustrations, in his trademark sensual style with suggestive lines and blocks of colour, are a fitting complement to Musset’s transgressive text. Like other illustrators, he introduces a whole coterie of nuns to share Gamiani’s sexual experiments.
The Brunner-illustrated Gamiani was published ‘au dépends d’un amateur’ (at the expense of an amateur collector) in a limited numbered edition of 276 copies. According to Jean-Pierre Dutel, the edition was published by M. Gstalter, 15 rue Olivier-Noyer, Paris 15.