“Art has always existed to tell a human story, and sex has always been a part of that story.” This statement was made by Constantine Frangos, the art specialist of Sotheby’s House, the place where the art auction “Erotic: Passion & Desire” took place. The event consisted of more than one hundred erotic artworks that date from ancient times to the present, with formats such as paintings, sculptures, and drawings.
The auction raised 6.53 million dollars, a fact that makes us wonder, what is driving collectors from around the globe to pay those exorbitant prices? The mysteries of eroticism are part of that huge net of intrigues we all have in our minds. We don’t settle with carnal lust; we always want to go beyond and explore through other means the complexities of the human body, the perfection of its shapes, or the fantasies that unfold from a united couple. It's revealed to us as a sea of sensations where we want to fulfill those desires through artistic exploration.
Take a look at the works of art that were worth millions of dollars and perfectly depict the power eroticism holds over the human mind:
Nu couché (1972), by Pablo Picasso
The sketch made by the Spanish artist was sold for 93, 362 dollars. This female nude is part of the Spaniard’s prolific catalog that explores the mysteries of women. Picasso had an unparalleled appreciation for how the female body and mind worked, a fascination that can be seen in many of his paintings, where he represented his models as tormented, delicate beings. Picasso was ninety one years old when he created this sketch.
La grande névrose (1896), by Jacques Loysel
The beautiful marble sculpture that shows the delicacy of a woman was sold for 2.31 million dollars. "A naked woman thrown over her back and twisting in a tired stretch of limbs, her lips half open, and her eyelids half closed, waiting for the impossible." This was Jean Lorrain's description of La Grande Nérvose in his visit to the Paris Salon. This sculpture is the embodiment of carnal rapture and erotic desires.
Man Posing (1985), by Lucian Freud
The sketch made by the British painter and engraver was auctioned for 28 thousand dollars. The drawing stands out due to its realistic details, uninhibited pose, and drowsy face of the model. It’s important to mention that the artist is Sigmund Freud’s grandson, who, as we know, mostly studied the human obsession with sexuality.
Liegender Halbakt Nach Rechts (1914-1915), by Gustav Klimt
The Austrian’s piece was sold for 217,845 dollars. This beautiful pencil sketch, filled with an intense sexual character, is just another example of the artist’s wide collection dedicated to female shapes. The painter is the author of the universally famous The Kiss.
Akt (1917), by Egon Schiele
Klimt’s former student, the work of the Viennese painter was sold for 279,776 dollars. Schiele’s works are characterized by an immense load of sexuality. For the artist, eroticism was a universe that had to be represented in an uninhibited, ferocious manner; this sparked the anger of many critics who labeled it as pornographic and depraved. He shocked audiences when he did a painting of his sister Gertrude completely naked when she was only a teenager.
Eroticism is one of the most recurring themes in the minds of painters, sculptors, draftsmen, and photographers that have surrendered to its charms and mysteries. Acts such as shaping a woman from a block of marble, painting naked men on a piece of paper, or making a painting that portrays the female body as the main theme, show that the erotic need has been present throughout human history.
Would you pay an exorbitant amount of money to exhibit in your living room a piece of art that awakens in your guests their darkest instincts? These works of art may have shocked critics and the public but now we cannot help but admire and be titillated by their erotic nature.
::Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards