Charles Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) was first published in 1857, but neither of the first two editions included the six poems known as Pièces condamnées (The Banned Poems), which were omitted at the demand of the French government censors. The ‘forbidden’ poems (‘Lesbos’, ‘Femmes damnées (à la pâle clarté)’, ‘Le Léthé’, ‘À celle qui est trop gaie’, ‘Les bijoux’, and ‘Les métamorphoses du vampire’) appeared in print in 1866, but were officially banned in France until the 1940s because of their lesbian and sado-erotic content. This made them particularly attractive to art publisher Editions Henrys, who commissioned Raoul Auger to produce six full-page illustrations and six poem headers for their limited edition of Baudelaire.

This is the only erotic title illustrated by Auger, which is a pity as it demonstrates his ability to work creatively with bold forms and a limited palette, unlike much of his book illustration and comic work.

The Henrys edition of Pièces condamnées was produced in a numbered limited edition of 531 copies.