De Figuris Veneris, suite de 19 gravures en couleurs et un frontispice, Paul Avril, np. nd., [Charles Hirsch, Paris 1906]
11“x9″ portfolio book with frontispiece with 19 loose hand-colored lithographs (10.5″x8.5”) each with tissue guard describing scene and page where they are to be inserted into book. String ties intact. Soiling and rip to frontispiece on cover and some rips and soiling on inner flaps that hold the artwork. Lithographs are in good+ condition some minor soiling on paper but not on the art. Previous owner’s inscription on inside front board, “Le H. Avril 1938 | Toulouse | G. A France’s”
When publishers sold books in the early 19th century, they often sold the illustrations separately. These illustrations are for F.K. Forbergs Manuel d’Erotologie Classique (de Figuris Veneris) [Charles Hirsch, Paris 1906]. These (and the illustrations he did for Carrington’s Fanny Hill) are the most explicit, rare, and sought after illustrations by Paul Avril. Most copies of Manuel d’Erotologie Classique have a combination of black, red, or sepia monochromatic illustrations. I have yet to find a copy of the book with all 19 hand-colored illustrations. The only lithograph prints of this work I’ve seen have been black & white (probably ripped out of books). This is the only “un-inserted” loosely bound portfolio of the hand-colored lithographs I have found anywhere.
Édouard-Henri Avril (1849-1928) used the pseudonym “Paul Avril” for his erotic work. He was a French painter and commercial artist. His career saw collaboration with influential people like Octave Uzanne, Henry Spencer Ashbee and Friedrich Karl Forberg. He is one of the most celebrated erotic artists of his age. Avril was a soldier before starting his career in art. He was awarded with the Legion of Honour for his actions in the Franco-Prussian War.