Sotheby’s ‘Erotic: Passion & Desire’ Sale in London | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Sotheby’s ‘Erotic: Passion & Desire’ Sale in London

Sotheby’s ‘Erotic: Passion & Desire’ Sale in London
Pablo Picasso, "Homme et femme nus," 1971. Brush and ink on paper.
(Courtesy: Sotheby's )

Sotheby’s “Erotic: Passion & Desire” sale, taking place in London on February 15, 2018 will feature representations of love and sex from antiquity to the present day. The varied works range from 19th century furniture to fine art, photography, and contemporary sculpture. It has a pre-sale low estimate of £3.8m and is the second erotic sale that the auction house will be staging.

Listed below are some of the highlights of the auction:

Roman brothel scene, 1st century AD — The terracotta plaque is molded in relief with a narrative that unfolds from right to left. Each stage is divided by architectural elements with charged encounters taking place between men and women. (Estimate: £20,000-30,000)

Portrait of Viscountess Cullen as Venus, 17th century — Attributed to Sir Peter Lely and his studio, this oil on canvas portrait of Elizabeth Trentham, Viscountess Cullen as Venus, is an allegorical representation of Venus as well as a portrait. Viscountess Cullen was famed for her charm and extravagance at the Restoration court of King Charles II. (Estimate: at £80,000-120,000)

Jacopo Amigoni, “Venus and Adonis,” 18th century — Italian artist Jacopo Amigoni’s mythological painting of Venus and Adonis shows the goddess of love embracing her lover, imploring him not to leave on a hunting trip where he will meet his end. (Estimate: £300,000-500,000)

Bust of Antinous, 18th century — This sculpture of Antinous, the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s lover, combines the biographical portrait with an idealized classical representation of male beauty. (Estimate: £100,000-150,000)

Francesco Barzaghi, “Phryné,” 1868 — Phryné was a courtesan from 4th century Greece who was accused of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries before the Athenian judges. At the moment of sentencing, her advocate, Hyperides, swept off Phryné’s clothes. Her body looked so divine that the judges were unable to condemn her to death. (Estimate: £400,000-600,000)

Lord Frederic Leighton, “The Sluggard,” 1886 — This 19th century sculpture was inspired when Lord Frederic Leighton’s model, Giuseppe Valone, stretched after a long sitting. The state was conceived as a pendant to the artist’s earlier work entitled “An athlete struggling with a python.” (Estimate: £18,000-25,000)

Francis Picabia, “Les baigneuses, femmes nues bord de mer,” 1941 — In the 1940s, Picabia began to paint nudes in the style of French glamour magazines. He used mass-produced erotica, postcards, and photo-novels to inform his work but painted scenes in oil with an exaggerated manner, exploring the dichotomy between low and high art. (Estimate: £400,000-600,000)

Pablo Picasso, “Homme et femme nus,” 1971 — A characteristic example of Picasso’s later erotic drawings, “Homme et femme nus,” done in brush and ink, wash, and pencil on paper, shows a woman in a satyr’s embrace. (Estimate: £250,000-350,000)