Valentine's Day saw The Amorist's editor, Rowan Pelling, above left with Lucy Litwack of sponsors Coco de Mer, co-hosting a masked preview party at Sotheby's sale of erotic art, Erotic: Passion & Desire, her rabbit mask sitting jauntily atop her head. (photo@katecowdreyphotography)
With guests magnificent in corsets, feathers and furs, the throng was like a scene from one of the Amorist's favourite movies, La Grande Bellezza, as people milled, gossiped and peered at paintings of exquisitely endowed young men. Rowan's favourites from the sale can be seen in her online essay on the works, which made a sale total of just over £3.7 million the next day: http://www.sothebys.com/en/new... See also her video recording on why collectors find erotic art so compelling: http://www.sothebys.com/en/new...
While the Amorist revelled in the chance to see so many beautiful works of art close at hand, (some of which were from Sotheby's separate sale of Erotic Art Online), she couldn't help noting that, whilst male portraits often showed them standing upright, in all senses, those featuring women tend to portray them lying down.
The Amorist has certainly fantasised about being hauled onto white sands in a rugged fisherman's net, à la Brigitte Nielsen photographed by Herb Ritts, above, or having her ear licked by a cobra after the fashion of Nastassja Kinski, photographed by Richard Avedon (1981), below (an iconic image that sold for £62,500).
She's also been known to sunbathe naked on a city rooftop, like the model in Patrick Demarchelier's picture, below.
But in truth none of these images felt quite so familiar as the one from Bettina Rheims' Chambre Close series (1991), below, where a woman in a Parisian bedroom stretches her leg in naked abandon, clad only in a new pair of shoes. How well the Amorist knows that feeling, after an afternoon shopping in St Germain.
Let us give ourselves over to joy…to voluptuousness, as if this were our last night among the living.
Alfred de Musset