Prints, France, 19th Century
Charges et Décharges diaboliques by Eugène Lepoitevin (1830)
The anonymous portfolio of twelve obscene lithographs Charges et Décharges diaboliques, printed in Paris around 1830, was assembled by the French painter and caricaturist Eugène Lepoittevin (1806-1870), a contributor for Charles Philipon’s famous journal La Caricature, and the creator of the series Diableries (devilish prints). These satirical lithographs depict a series of explicitly sexual postures and assaults (charges) carried out by diabolical characters. The portfolio was seized by U.S. Customs in New York on August 2, 1951, and released to the Kinsey Institute on March 1, 1958, following the Federal Court case United States v. 31 Photographs.
Naturalia / Natural Things by Félicien Rops
This portfolio of twelve prints by Félicien Rops was bound by the Kinsey Institute in March 1951. The first print, entitled Naturalia [Natural things], is a drypoint dating from the mid-1870s. In some states of the plate the title is specified as Naturalia non sunt Turpia [Natural things are not filthy things], in other states as Naturalia sunt Turpia [Natural things are filthy things]. At least one plate includes a quotation from Charles Baudelaire’s Paradis artificiels [Artificial Paradises]: “Les vices de l’homme, si pleins d’horreur qu’on les suppose, contiennent la preuve (quand ce ne serait que leur infinie expansion!) de son goût de l’infini” [The vices of man, however frightful they seem, contain the proof (if only in their infinite applications!) of his taste for the infinite] (transl. by Stacy Diamond). The second print is an undated etching entitled Le Ravissement de sœur Marie Alacoque [The Rapture of Sister Marie Soft-Boiled], which in some states includes this epigraph: “Deux fois par jour, les anges venaient la visiter et lui causaient mille ravissements. — Comment sont-ils faits? lui demanda la sœur supérieure. — Leurs membres sont comme ceux des hommes, répondit sœur Marie” [Twice a day, the angels came to visit her and gave her a thousand delights. – What are they like? asked the Sister Superior. - Their members are like those of men, said Sister Marie]. The third print is an undated etching entitled Hypocrisie, and the fourth print is an untitled and undated etching.
Les Sataniques / The Satanic Ones by Félicien Rops (1882)
The four sacrilegious engravings exhibited here, Satan semant l’ivraie [Satan sowing darnel], Le Calvaire [The Calvary], L’Idole [The Idol], and Le Sacrifice [The Sacrifice], are part of a series of five heliogravures (“a process of engraving by means of the action of light on a sensitized surface” [OED]), titled Les Sataniques [The Satanic Ones] and composed by the Belgian symbolist engraver Félicien Rops (1833-1898) between 1881 and 1882. Les Sataniques were meant to be part of L’Album du Diable [The Devil’s Scrapbook], an ambitious artist’s book project aimed at combining texts and illustrations, which was never completed.