Hans Bellmer’s Maldoror

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Les Fleurs du Mal.

That favourite novel of the Surrealists receives the attention of yet another Surrealist artist. Dalí and Magritte both made their own attempts to illustrate Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror, a book that many people would consider beyond the reach of easy pictorial representation. I tend to think that the novel’s delirious, dream-like prose offers endless interpretations; this earlier post managed to haul one paragraph in the direction of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Hans Bellmer’s series of 33 intaglio prints were produced from 1967 to 1971, and use the book as a mirror for the artist’s erotic obsessions. Not an unwarranted point of view but Bellmer makes the novel seem much more overtly erotic than it is. The images here aren’t the best quality. Better copies and a complete set of the prints may be viewed at a larger size here.

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Ecstasy.

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L’Amour by Didier Moreau

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Didier Moreau is one of a handful of obscure artists whose work I go searching for now and then in the hope that more of it may have been posted somewhere. Moreau’s drawings first came to my attention via the marvellous Art Nouveau Revival 1900 . 1933 . 1966 . 1974 exhibition catalogue but details about either the artist or his work are scant, especially on Anglophone sites where more recent French artists tend to be marginalised at the best of times. Matters aren’t helped by there being several Didier Moreaus in the world, and the possibility that Didier the artist may not have produced a great deal of work after the early 1970s.

L’Amour, a portfolio of drawings from 1973 was discovered on an auction site. The drawings themselves date from 1970, and look very much like improvised pieces. The examples in Art Nouveau Revival were vaguely erotic in tone but distinctly Beardsley-like in style; the pieces here are much more erotic (hence the title) but with a style that’s closer to Hans Bellmer: all those fused bodies, multiplied limbs and sinuous, organic forms. If something like this can turn up out of the blue you have to wonder what else may come to light in the future.

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Several more Salomés

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Cover of Salome by Oscar Wilde (1903) by Modest Alexandrovich Durnov.

Gathering a few more Salomé renderings which have caught my attention recently. The biggest surprise is the one from Picabia since he’s an artist who these days is almost always associated with the Cubists and Dadaists. In the 1920s he returned to figurative painting and produced a number of pieces in this style. The overlaying of images reminds me of some of Hans Bellmer’s drawings.

Michael Zulli is an American comic artist whose work I’ve always liked a great deal. No information about his drawing, unfortunately, so I can’t say whether it’s a one-off or part of a larger project.

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Salomé (1917) by John Riley Wilmer.

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Salomé (c. 1928) by Francis Picabia.

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Salomé Sphinx (1928) by Nicholas Kalmakoff.

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Salomé (no date) by Michael Zulli.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Salomé archive

Weekend links 104

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Prettiest Star (2004) by Timothy Cummings.

I Want Your Love, a feature film directed by Travis Mathews catches my attention for having been described as “the gay Shortbus” even though (as the director notes) Shortbus was pretty gay to begin with.

• I’ve always found Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Tinderbox—a tale of spectral dogs with enormous eyes—to be rather weird. But these illustrations by Heinrich Strub for a 1956 edition beat everything.

• “From an early age, however, I became in secret the slave of certain appetites.” The line that Robert Louis Stevenson deleted from The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Scientific American: Homophobes might be hidden homosexuals. Not exactly fresh news but always worth bearing in mind when someone starts ranting about those evil gays.

Minimal Wave: The 80s synth-pop underground. The Minimal Wave label releases a vinyl compilation by Hard Corps this month.

• “Blame the Victorians for making menswear boring.” Alex Jung on the endless tyranny of the suit-and-tie combination.

• Women, Vaginas and Blood: Breaking menstrual taboos with artist Sarah Maple.

London’s lost rivers (again): the hidden history of the city’s buried waterways.

Vincenzo Pacelli says the Knights of Malta murdered Caravaggio.

Street style 1906: Edward Linley Sambourne’s fashion blog.

Architectural Stationery Vignettes at BibliOdyssey.

Hans Bellmer & Unica Zürn at Ubu Gallery, NYC.

Pam Grossman admits to being a “candle hooch”.

Dirty (1986) by Hard Corps | Lost Rivers Of London (1996) by Coil | The Tinderbox (2009) by Patrick Wolf.

The art of Gilles Rimbault

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The relaxing of constraints in the 1960s produced a breed of artist which hardly seems to exist any more, invariably male and equally at home illustrating generic fantasy as producing delicately-rendered and frequently weird erotica. French artist Gilles Rimbault is one such, as was British underground artist Jim Leon, and another Frenchman, Raymond Bertrand. Unlike Leon and Bertrand, Rimbault’s work and information about the artist is frustratingly scarce. The first examples here are from covers of French science fiction magazines—also a source of work for Bertrand—while the samples below are a pair of intriguingly androgynous pieces of erotica from this page which gathers a number of similar Hans Bellmer-like works. If anyone turns up more of Rimbault’s drawings, please leave a comment.

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Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The art of Jim Leon, 1938–2002
The art of Sibylle Ruppert
The art of Bertrand