Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bathing Venuses:Les Baigneuse and other nudes by Yves Diey

Here is a lovely sub-Renoir painting of three girls bathing in a pool or river by the French painter Yves Diey.  The girl on the left is particularly and delightfully Renoiresque. She looks like she may have just sensed someone approaching and doesn't seem worried about it at all!  This picture sold at Christie's, just over three years ago. for £4.375; slightly over the top estimate.

Here are some very different looking ladies from the largely fair haired bathers.  Diey painted quite a number of scenes set in Spain, often featuring Spanish dancers and musicians and thees ladies definitely have an Iberian look about them   Several of them could conceivably be the same woman.  The one above dates from 1935.

Diey was a prolific painter and turned out many simple reclining nudes like these, presumably because they sold well.   The one above is dated 1936.

These are pretty formulaic paintings and would have been quite old fashioned, even in the nineteen thirties but the quality of his brushwork is high, which is probably while they still command pretty good prices today and you would need several thousand pounds if you wanted to buy one at auction.

Although well-known to art dealers, not much is known about Diey himself, disappointingly.  He was born in 1892 and died in 1984, so had a good run.  Most of these pictures seem to date from the mid nineteen thirties but not many are dated, so it is difficult to know if most were painted in the thirties and forties (we know he won a painting prize in Paris in 1942) or whether they were done over the many decades of his long life.

Apart from his Spanish pictures he also did quite a few of Moroccan subjects.  Sometimes, as here, he combined his nude women with his North African or Spanish subjects.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Elvgren Venus: Reclining Oriental Nude in Studio (1947)

We have featured quite a few Gil Elvgren paintings on Venus Observations but this picture appeared in a post of The Seduction of Venus.  We only had a very poor image of it but thought it was such a splendid picture that we posted it anyway.  Now at last we have found a better scan.  Elvgren liked this picture so much it hung in his studio for many years and it is one of only a few such art nude oil paintings he did,

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Lust World: A Sexual Odyssey

Venus Observations is all about the visual, so we hope you will excuse us in trailing a literary venture on these pages.

For some time Triple P has been discussing writing an erotic story with our friend Sophie.  We have started a number of tales which we have shared with her and several of our other mutual friends who have all contributed suggestions and even scenarios.  These stories, originally based on the adventures of a group of French lady archaeologists in Egypt in 1921, have grown far beyond what they were originally intended to do  and got ever more complex; with extended flashbacks and such like.  They will need some rigorous editing! Sophie suggested starting a new story from scratch.  Triple P and she had often mused about the possibility of taking a classic adventure story and "sexing it up".   An early favourite was to do something with A Journey to the Centre of the Earth but recent discussions have centred around The Lost World, mainly because it has dinosaurs in it! 

We reread the novel last summer and decided to write a first chapter to see how it might go. Very soon we began to deviate from the original story; just keeping versions of the main characters  (and in typical Hollywood style, adding female ones not in the book) but retaining the core story of a group of explorers travelling to South America looking for a dinosaur infested plateau.

We decided to set it in the original date of 1912 which, of course, raised all sorts of issues regarding historical factors.  Still,we have enjoyed researching such things as ocean liners (unlike the book, which skips over the sea voyage to South America we couldn't resist having our characters on an ocean liner for an extend period), hotels (and discovered things such as London hotels did not have en suite bathrooms or room service at the time), the level of contemporary understanding of dinosaurs, the layout of the Natural History Museum, menstrual protection for women (almost unbelievably cumbersome), the names of London Underground stations (some have changed) and that critical and complex subject of women's lingerie.

Conan Doyle was one of the greatest writers of popular fiction and his elegant, spare, prose is impossible to better,  so although we have made no attempt to write in the style of a hundred years ago we have tried to avoid the anachronistic use of some words and expressions. 

All in all we have managed to include a host of things we have always been interested in: dinosaurs (both real and the ones at Crystal Palace), ocean liners. luxury hotels, women's lingerie, English country houses, old cars, hunting rifles, the railways, the Amazon and bordellos; to name but a few.

The story is organised into the following parts:

Part One: London

Our hero, Edmund Molloy, becomes involved in an expedition to South America and has his first experiences with women.

Part Two: Hampshire and London

Molloy attends the birthday weekend of Lord James Hoxton, a fellow expedition member and participates in an orgiastic few days in a country house.

Part Three: Liverpool to Brazil 

The expedition members sail to Brazil via Portugal and Madeira and have many passionate encounters on board.

Part Four: Brazil, 

The expedition penetrates the depths of the Amazon jungle.  

Part Five: The Plateau

On the plateau they discover strange creatures and strange peoples.

Part Six: London

They return to London, much changed by their experiences.

So far we have written all of part one and two and are well into part three.  We have also written a lot of part five.  Each chapter is six to ten pages long and we have written over fifty chapters so far - some 450 pages or 225,000 words.  All since last summer.

Sophie has been urging us to put it online which we have resisted, as it is really a private piece written for a group of close friends, but she thinks that some people might enjoy it.  We have, therefore, set up another blog and will post a chapter every few weeks or so to see if anyone looks at it. As she says, we are more likely to complete it if others are waiting for it (unlike my previous efforts).

Personally Selected Venus 11: for Earth Day

Today, according to Yahoo (so it must be right), is Earth Day which is, no doubt, something about saving the planet.  So here, as our contribution, is a lovely girl in the earth in the coonrtyside.  We like her smile!  Off to empty the recycling, now!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bathtime Venus 1: The Bath by Louis Buisseret

The Bath (1923)

Sophie was saying to Triple P the other day that she was surprised at the lack of bathing beauties in Venus Observations, as we enjoy a young lady in the bath.  We ventured that the issue is that it is such a popular subject for artists that you could have a blog that only showed women bathing and it could  have hundreds if not thousands of posts.  She replied that if that were 'bathers' then that would be true.  Artists could put a naked woman next to any random stretch of water and call it a socially acceptable bathing painting.  Depictions of women in bathtubs, however, is rather less popular and a comparatively recent phenomenon (as were baths themselves, in most people's homes).  So we will post a few bathing beauties over the next few weeks in both painting and photography.  This enables us to do some shorter posts as we are very busy at work at present and have several major papers to write.

This very fine example is by the Belgian painter Louis Buisseret (1888-1956),  Buisseret began his studies at the age of sixteen in the the Art Academy of Bergen (the Dutch name for Mons, not the city in Norway) and then at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels.  In 1911 he won first prize in the Prix de Rome and travelled to Italy to continue his studies.  In 1922 he married Emilie Empain who was his principal model and is almost certainly the woman in this painting.  What completely splendid thighs she has!

The painting was bought at the Barcelona World Fair in 1929 and now hangs in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya,

Monday, April 18, 2016

Non-centrefold Venus of the Month 18: Felicity Driscoll, February 1980

Honestly, you don't get a Mayfair pictorial for months and then two come along within ten days.  There is a reason for this, of course, and that reason was that I was looking through my collection for a particular pictorial but, in doing so, was very taken with this one of Felicity (as she almost certainly wasn't called).

This one came from Volume 15, number 2 which dates from February 1980.  Not that you would really be able to tell from the style of the pictorial, as Mayfair's shoots looked pretty much as they did for the previous eight years.  There was no gradual pushing of the boundaries of explicitness here, in contrast with what was happening at Penthouse and Paul Raymond's publications (although the latter had back tracked a bit during this period).

Mayfair pretty much had two types of pictorial at this point.  The first featured largely British models ;,usually shot inside or in a grey looking location somewhere in Britain.  The girls tended to be wholesome looking, busty and, by today's standards for such magazines. perhaps carrying a bit more weight than would be seen now.

The second type were as we have here; girl posed on a tropical looking beach somewhere.  You just know it isn't Eastbourne.   The girls also don't look like they come from Eastbourne.

Despite this, Mayfair carried on their pretence that all these sun kissed creatures are really girls called Felicity or Emily or Charlotte.  They all have jolly interesting jobs in an office and a racy little sports car.  Never once do they say "and here is Carmen a lovely model from Spain (or wherever), obviously reasoning that while foreign girls (especially French and Scandinavian ones) are very sexy they might just be a bit too sexy for their average readers.

Anyway, one of the photographers who supplied a lot of these girls in sunshine was Siwer Ohlsson (as here).  Ohlsson was born in Sweden in 1940 and dropped out of school to become a photographer at the age of 15.  After working at a photographic store, learning about film processing and camera technique, he got a job as an assistant to a number of fashion photographers in Stockholm.  After travelling around Europe he settled in the south of Spain in 1962. More tourists were coming to the area and he started looking for models on the beaches whose bikini pictures he could sell to magazines, beginning his glamour career.  He did a lot to promote the image of the beautiful Swedish girl in the sixties and seventies.

Anyway, 'Felicity' doesn't look at all Swedish and looking through the magazine what attracted Triple P's attention was her luxuriant, blue-black bush.  What a particularly fine example it is and the shot immediately above actually makes our palm tingle!

All of Triple P's first girlfriends were light brunettes, (real) blondes or redheads and it wasn't until we had started our first job that we came across (!) our first black bush like this.  It belonged to a Greek girl, F, in our firm and having got very drunk at the office Christmas party one Friday in December, we ended up in her flat in Kennington and stayed for the weekend, playing with her black bush.  The firm had a strict rule about no relationships between staff so we mutually agreed to call it an enjoyable one off (anyway, she had a boyfriend and Triple P had a girlfriend).  It did get us much more interested in seeking out black haired Italian girls, however, when we started to travel to Italy on business a lot, a few years later.

We have found another full pictorial of the lovely Felicity, also from Mayfair, but as that is a centrefold one we will post it separately very shortly.  In the mean time, here are a couple of outtakes from this shoot, which appeared elsewhere.  What a splendidly proportioned young woman she was!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Unshaven Venus 3: Sleeping Bather (1850) by Théodore Chassériau (1827-1877)

This fine classical nude by Théodore Chassériau is typical of many from the first half of the nineteenth century, except for the inclusion of the model's very un-classical thatched armpit. Also know as Bather sleeping near a Spring and Nymph it is a remarkably realistic nude portrait for the time. It was a body that the artist knew well, however, as she was his lover, Alice Ozy.  The painting was done in 1850 and is now in the Calvet Museum in Avignon.

Alice Ozy (1820-1893) was born Julie Justine Pilloy, the daughter of a Parisian jeweller.  Julie (as she then was) was brought up by her mother, as her father left her mother before she was born.  The young Julie got a job in an embroidery school but had to leave at the age of twelve due to the unwanted attentions of her boss.  Her mother took her to Lyon where her sister Rose Ozi lived and she found work in an embroidery shop there.  Her beauty and charm were such that she was soon promoted from the workshop to the store counter.  Returning to Paris, the sixteen year old Julie caught the eye of twenty two year old actor Louis Brindeau at a dance hall in Montparnasse.  He suggested she become an actress (he suggested several other things to her as well) and got her some small roles.  She got her first real role in vaudeville at the age of seventeen and took the stage name Alice Ozy (based on her mother's maiden name).  For the next five years her roles and acclaim increased until by 1845, she was one of the best regarded young actresses in Paris.

Alice Ozy in 1842 by Vinvent Vidal

With this fame came wealthy male admirers and in 1841 she was introduced to Baron Cesar Lecat Bazancourt, the French writer and soon after starts a relationship with a Polish aristocrat from the Wieloposki family as well.  Like many actresses of the time she  became a courtesan, being paid by wealthy men for ' companionship'.  Bazancourt and Wieloposki were so enamoured of her they agreed to share her.  Wieloposki died at quite a young age and left Ozy around 75,000 francs in his will.  In 1843 she started a relationship with the novelist and poet Theophile Gautier as well as the writer Nestor Roqueplan.  During this period Alice was a busy and popular young lady also fitting in liaisons with the Emperor Napoleon's son, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the future Napoleon III of France as well as Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, the son of the then King of France Louis-Philippe.  In order to avoid being recognised, when she accompanied the latter out she often dressed as a man.  Her relationship with Prince Louis-Napoléon was ended, however, when she accepted the gift of a carriage and horses from another lover, Edouard de Perregaux, the wealthy son of a banker.

Alice Ozy by Chassériau (1848)

She was not short of suitors and was having an affair with Charles Hugo, the son of the novelist Victor Hugo.  Charles, fed up with Alice's other lovers asked his father what he should do about the situation whereupon Victor bombarded her with erotic poems and took her as his (additional) mistress instead, much to his son's annoyance. All this ended in 1848 when she fled Paris for London, during the revolution and she appeared at the St James' Theatre, briefly.

Alice Ozy by Chassériau (1849)

When  she returned to Paris later in 1848 she started a two year but tempestuous relationship with the painter Théodore Chassériau, despite her thinking that he looked like a monkey.  Victor Hugo was not amused.  Their relationship ended when she asked him for one of his paintings which he intended for his family.  He refused but she insisted and eventually, in order to end the arguments, he gave in to her.  It just happened that he was enjoying breakfast with Alice at her apartment when the painting arrived by carriage from his studio.  In a fit of remorse at giving the painting to Alice, he slashed it to ribbons in front of her and walked out on her.

Alice later had a relationship with and modelled for the painter Thomas Couture (1815-1879), who painted her several times.

She is believed to be the female figure at the bottom right of Couture's post Bacchanalian painting Le souper à la Maison d'or (1855). Strangely, this was meant to be a design for a wallpaper pattern and languished in Couture's studio for years, eventually being bought by the Art Gallery of Vancouver in 1931 until it deteriorated so much that it was put in the gallery's cellar, not being restored until 2013.

Alice Ozy by Amaury Duval (1852)

She retired from the stage in 1855 and reverted to her birth name of Julie Pilloy. using her friends in the banking world and stock market to increase her fortune.  She bought a house in Enghien-les-Bains, six  miles north of Paris and also kept an apartment in the city at 91 Boulevard Haussmann.

Time Slaying Love

Another lover of Ozy's was the artist Gustave Doré, who designed a special clock for Ozy's apartment in Paris where it was displayed in the entrance hall.  Called Time Slaying Love it shows Time slaying cherubs with his spear.  The message from Ozy (or Pilloy as she now was, once more) was that any relationship with her was going to be fleeting as time is the enemy of love. 

9 Boulevard Haussmann today

Julie Justine Pilloy remained unmarried (although far from without male companionship) and died in her apartment at 91 Boulevard Haussmann on March 3rd 1892 at the age of 72.

She was buried at Paris' famous Père-Lachaise cemetery in an ornate tomb designed on her instructions by the architect Constant Moyaux (1835-1911).  The statue of the virgin and child was a marble copy of a bronze by by Léon Fagel based on a drawing by Doré, appropriately.  Although her tomb now carries the name Alice Ozy it originally had her real name, Pilloy, on it.

Julie Justine Pilloy 6th August 1820- 3rd March 1893

Alice Ozy made the best of her looks and charm and became not just a courtesan but one of Paris' great grandes-horizontales, lover to many of the most important and influential men of her day and one who made and kept her fortune.  More courtesans another time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Another post in the chronicles of Triple P...

We have moved on to 1972  - a momentous year!  Given that this is primarily a text content blog we have also made it black text on white and increased the font size to make it easier to read.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Non-centrefold Venus of the Month 34: Angie Graham, June 1977

My series of posts on sporting young British ladies seemed to go down well and I agree with those who appreciated their natural, tattoo-free curves.  

So why not present another British girl next door by the river?  We don't often feature girls from Mayfair magazine because they can look a bit doughy-looking and the photography itself can be rather artless but sometime there is nothing wrong with simplicity.  So here, from June 1977, is Angie Graham.

She is certainly located on a nice riverbank somewhere and while Mayfair did feature foreign girls shot by foreign photographers, usually on sunny beaches to bring some sunshine to the otherwise leaden skied local outdoor shoots, this looks like a British girl by a British river.

Her pictures are by Roger Pearson, a photographer about whom we can find out nothing whatsoever and he provides a straightforward pictorial with Miss Graham starting out in a crocheted micro dress and then gradually stripping off.

The pictures are, unusually, presented in chronological order and we suspect the shoot didn't take very long, which was probably a good thing as you never know who might turn up and when when shooting outside.

She has a very Mayfair type body, with lots of soft looking curves and would enhance any riverside walk.

Angie has lovely blue eyes, unusually for such a dark haired woman and they really light up her face.  Not all Mayfair girls were pretty at this time but she really is.

It usually isn't worth reporting on the text accompanying her pictures as Mayfair's descriptions of their models were usually total fiction.  It says she was 5' 6" tall, 36B-26-36, 27 years old, a fromer RAF pin up and lived in West Yorkshire.

Rather more unusually, Mayfair admitted she was a model, as usually they made up some nonsensical piece about the girls being secretaries/nurses/estate agents who inevitably drove E-Type Jaguars and liked riding at the weekends.

In fact, in this case, everything in the blurb appears to be true.  Her real name is Angela Graham, she was a model at the time and was indeed, as was mentioned in the text, a pin-up for 655 Squadron of the Royal Air Force.

She even toured with them to Northern Ireland in the seventies.  Here she is providing morale boosting services to the military.

Here she is in a photograph which appeared in the Daily Mirror in the Seventies, showing how she could look rather more sophisticated than Mayfair had her.

In the eighties she took up body building and became the UK champion and came second in the European championships.  Here she is in 1982, just five years after her Mayfair pictures..  Now, we don't like the bodybuilder look at all and much prefer her softer Mayfair incarnation.


However, she has kept herself very fit, to the extent that nearly forty years after her Mayfair shots she doesn't look anything like her real age of mid sixties and she is still recognisably the same woman. and still living in Yorkshire. Well done Angela!  You look splendid!