This wonderfully erotic print of a masturbating girl is by French artist Manuel Robbe (1872-1936). Although he worked in pastels, oils and watercolour it is as a printmaker that he is best known. His technique of using a poupee (a cloth covered ball) to apply sugar and indian ink to his metal plates, then heating them as well as using the same plate for multiple colours produced the multi-tonal blacks and greys which are such a feature of this print. It also meant that each one was slightly different. The girl's red hair provides the only flash of colour in this otherwise monochrome picture. This is a potent image for Agent Triple P because, as a teenager, the first girl we ever saw playing with herself in reality was a redhead. She wasn't wearing black stockings though, just a white towelling dressing gown.
Seated nude 1910
Robbe was born in Paris and studied at Lycées Condorcet and Louis-le-Grand then at the Académie Julian and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. . He won a bronze medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Many of his pictures focus on women and provide an excellent window into the world of the Belle Epoque.
Femme ajustant son bas
During the Great War Robbe enlisted as a pilot and won the Croix de Guerre for his combat bravery.
Although many of his pictures were conventional there is certainly a number of overtly erotic works in his catalogue, such as this breast fondling young lady. We have just posted a couple of these over on our Seduction of Venus blog. Although puce means flea in French it also is a term used for a virgin girl.
Les bas noirs