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Jacques Loysel, La Grande Nevrose (est. £120,000-180,000)
Jacques Loysel, La Grande Nevrose (est. £120,000-180,000)
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Sotheby's Exhibits Over 100 Works of Historic Erotica

Picture of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 14 February 2017
Sexuality has proved a dominant force throughout history’s most beloved – and controversial – artworks. On February 11th, Erotic: Passion & Desire will open at Sotheby’s New Bond Street Galleries before going to auction on February 16th. The exhibition will showcase over 100 risqué works of fine art and design from the ancient to the modern day.

Celebrating sexuality as one of the most powerful, long-standing sources of inspiration in art, Erotic: Passion & Desire will showcase a dynamic range of artworks from around the world and through time. Second century Roman sculpture is thematically juxtaposed with modern design and contemporary painting to exhibit the multi-faceted ways in which sex, love, passion and intimacy have been depicted through the ages.

Left: Clive Barker, Girl and her Pussy, 1995-96 (est. £2,000-3,000). Right: Clive Barker, I Thought She Was a Natural Blonde, £6,000-8,000. All images courtesy of Sotheby's
Left: Clive Barker, Girl and her Pussy, 1995-96 (est. £2,000-3,000). Right: Clive Barker, I Thought She Was a Natural Blonde, 1999-2000 £6,000-8,000. All images courtesy of Sotheby’s

While the 107 works for sale differ in medium and aesthetic, Erotic: Passion & Desire showcases the common artistic and conceptual thread of sexuality. See some of the sale’s highlights ahead of time, below.

Egon Schiele, Akt (Nude), 1917 (est. £180,000-250,000)
Egon Schiele, Akt (Nude), 1917 (est. £180,000-250,000)
Japanese Erotic (Shunga) handscroll Edo Period, late 17th-century (est. £30,000- 40,000)
Japanese Erotic (Shunga) handscroll, Edo Period, late 17th-century (est. £30,000- 40,000)
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, First, 2003 (est. £60,000-80,000)
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, First, 2003 (est. £60,000-80,000)
Marc Quinn, Siren (est. £70,000-90,000)
Marc Quinn, Siren (est. £70,000-90,000)
A couple making acrobatic love on a lake, Mewar, North India, 18th-century (est. £2,000-3,000)
A couple making acrobatic love on a lake, Mewar, North India, 18th-century (est. £2,000-3,000)
Tomato Catsup; Tobacco Red; Lola Cola; and A.C. Annie (4 works),1972 (£5,000-7,000)
Mel Ramos, Tomato Catsup; Tobacco Red; Lola Cola; and A.C. Annie (4 works),1972 (£5,000-7,000)
Pablo Picasso, Nu couché, 1972 (est. £60,000-80,000)
Pablo Picasso, Nu couché, 1972 (est. £60,000-80,000)
Lucian Freud, Man Posing 11,27, 1985 (est. £15,000-20,000)
Lucian Freud, Man Posing 11,27, 1985 (est. £15,000-20,000)
Wim Devoye, Pipe 1, 2000 (est. £6,000-8,000)
Wim Devoye, Pipe 1, 2000 (est. £6,000-8,000)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Bow and Arrow (est. £6,000-8,000)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Bow and Arrow (est. £6,000-8,000)
A Roman Marble Torse of Pan, circa 2nd century A.D. (est. £40,000-£60,000)
A Roman Marble Torse of Pan, circa 2nd century A.D. (est. £40,000-£60,000)
An exceptional carved mahogany bed, second half 19th-century (est. £500,000-800,000)
An exceptional carved mahogany bed, second half 19th-century (est. £500,000-800,000)
Ettore Sottsass, 'Shiva' Vase, designed 1973 (est. £200-300)
Ettore Sottsass, ‘Shiva’ Vase, designed 1973 (est. £200-300)
Camille Bombois, Baigneuses surprises (Suprised ba…0,000-40,000)
Camille Bombois, Baigneuses surprises (Suprised bathers) £30,000-40,000
Pavel Tchelitchew, Bathers, 1938 (est. £300,000-500,000)
Pavel Tchelitchew, Bathers, 1938 (est. £300,000-500,000)

Erotic: Passion & Desire is on view at Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond St, Mayfair, London W1A 2AA from Saturday 11 February to Wednesday 15 February 2017.