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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Venus in Black Stockings 15: by Maurice Millière

Here are some rather delightful pictures from the period between just before the Great War and into the thirties. They are by French painter and illustrator Maurice Millière.  

Economic Crisis

He was born in Le Havre in December 1871 and. after studying in his home town. continued his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  He studied portraiture, life drawing and figure painting under Leon Bonnat, who also taught Dufy and Touloise-Lautrec, which honed his draughtsmanship.





This figure ability was soon translated into cartoons and illustrations for the popular French magazines of the time such as La Vie Parisienne, Fantasio and Le Sourire.

During the period after the Great War, he created a series of pictures of modern young women, usually lounging in their underwear, which were quite unlike anything seen before.

 The first jazz (1924)

These illustrations of the modern Parisienne became known as the "Petite femme de Millière"  The women were portrayed as independent, self-absorbed and gently erotic, just the job for magazines like La Vie Parisienne.

Most of them seemed unaware that their already scanty underthings were often 'inadvertently' revealing parts of their slim bodies.  In this one (above)  Mademoiselle's garment has slipped to reveal a perky nipple and the fabric has moulded to her groin through which a hint of colour the same as her hair can be seen; very bold for the time.

Many of the pictures from the magazines had mildly saucy captions.  This one here says: At the painter's "shall I take the chemise off as well?"'

Here is a girl trying out a new shower in her bathroom.  This one reads: "Without travel or holidays  I don't miss anything from the countryside.  Look! I have even installed the rain at home."


"Of needle and thread", this one is called. "A dress is like love, the more you set it right the more you keep warm."

This one is entitled Troubling arguments.and depicts our young lady with a despairing looking man (who loooks very like the artist himself)  Oh dear, a femme fatale, no doubt.

Millière's illustrations feature one distinctive looking girl above all others and he used the same model, Fanny, for many years.  This two page spread from La Vie Parisienne depicts Fanny going off for a modelling session with him.

With his “Femmes Poupées” (doll women) Millière created the genre of boudoir art; the depiction of fetching young women in their underwear.   He directly inspired Louis Icart (1888-1950) and, above all Alberto Vargas (1896-1982).  Millière, essentially, created tyhe lingerie clad pin-up which still exists to this day, with artists like Olivia de Berardinis.

Between 1907 and 1937 he contributed a series of pictures to the magazine of the Société artistique Le Cornet, an art and literature society founded in 1895,of which he was a member.  These were all of Fanny in various states of undress and over the decades she transformed from a coy teenager into a mature woman.  The bottom one is called 'Fanny and her beautiful pussy' and it does mean the same in French!

Here Millière has Fanny as a goat-legged lady faun, although these did not exist in classical legend.  All fauns and satyrs were men. 

Here is an example of one of Millière's paintings.  As he got older he stopped doing the erotic art and devoted  a lot of time to charity work, especially for children injured or orphaned during the Great War, for which he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur.     He died, a well respected establishment artist, in 1946 at the age of 77;

It is Millière who we have to thank for the birth of pin-up art and he, more than any other of La Vie Parisienne's talented artists, gave us the concept of images of lovely girls depicted  falling out of their flimsy underwear.  

The Lust World Chapter 11 “The more I think about it the more nonsensical it seems!”

The latest episode of my erotic adventure story The Lust World can be found here.   Chapter notes can be found here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Venus with a cat by Hiroaki Takahashi (1871-1945)

It is World Cat Day today, so time for a picture of a Venus with a cat, that domesticated animal that seems so appropriate in mirroring the characteristics of women (or at least, some of them).  This print was produced around 1930 by Japanese print maker Hiroaki Takahashi, one of whose other works I have featured before, here.  The depiction of fully nude women. as here, is unusual in Japanese art.  

Playing cats (1929)

Hiroaki was fond of cats and often depicted them in his work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Venus Returns: Playboy to bring back nudity

March/April 2017

Well, after an experiment that lasted a year, Playboy has decided to reverse the ban on nudity in the magazine which took place since the March 2016 issue.  Now all of this is on the back of Playboy claiming that advertising and sales were up with the non nude edition.  So why change now?  It looks like an embarrassing climb down. 

No more cover-up?  March 2016

What has happened since last year is a change in the management of the magazine, however. Back in October Hugh Hefner stepped down as Chief Creative Officer of the magazine and has now been replaced by his son Cooper.  When the non-nude issue was first launched in March 2016 Cooper said that he thought ditching nudes was a mistake but at that time he had no formal role in the magazine.  

March 2016

That has now changed but several of the magazine's directors left when he took over, worried about the deals they were broking for the "no nudes" magazine.  It looks like Cooperr has got his way, although he admitted that "the way in which the magazine had portrayed nudity was dated."  So I expect that will mean no return to girls in black stockings, wearing high heels in bed.  Whether we will just see the same skinny, droopy looking college student types but now displaying their nipples (Playboy didn't, in fact, go nudity free at all, it just stopped showing nipples and the pubic area) remains to be seen..  

Australian model Gabby Brooks, January/February 2017

In fact the way that the magazine had to hide the supposedly 'naughty' areas was rather tragic and recalled the coy covers of fifties men's magazines.  It is also odd that they felt that they could include pictures of naked women (there were still a lot of bare bottoms) and still think that they could persuade people that the magazine had a different, more 'acceptable' image.  

September 2016

They were still provocatively posed women, including on the cover, whether you could see their nipples or not.  Certainly, in Britain the covers were still wrapped in an opaque black sealed bag and put on the top shelf in newsagents, in exactly the same way as the "nude' issues.  Its legacy is such that to think they could make it a more acceptable brand by taking out the naughty bits was disingenuous to say the least. 

January/February 2017

I haven't bought Playboy since June last year but I went out and bought the January/February issue, solely because, in a move that appeals to my retro-loving self, they had brought back the old rabbit and picture gallery approach used for the Playmate review issues from the old days.  In fact this style of cover last appeared in January 1977, nearly fifteen years before Cooper Hefner was born..  Was this the sign of a re-think, I wondered?  Was Playboy acknowledging its heritage again?

 Joy Corrigan, Miss February 2017

Unfortunately, inside there was still a lot of reportage, direct flash style photography, in the artless style of Terry Richardson.  I hope that this approach, with returning nipples, doesn't continue.  There is a style of modern erotic photography, seen in the likes of Volo, for example, which demonstrates some artistic content, creativity and craft.  I am not hopeful, however.

Roxanna June, January/February 2017

Interestingly, in the current issue, unlike the first few non nude ones, there are some glimpses of nipple.  Playmate of the Month for October 2014 (although they no longer use the words 'Playmate of the Month' - too politically incorrect, no doubt) Roxanne June returns and flashes one teat in profile, begging the question: is it nipple free or not?

I will, of course, now be buying the next issue (the tagline 'Entertainment for Men' has gone) to see what they have done with the magazine but it is slightly worrying that the next issue is dubbed March/April.  There haven't been twelve issues a year since 2008 but the two joint issues have always been January/February and July/August.  Is this March/April issue just a transition issue or are they reducing the number of issues a year again?  All will be revealed shortly!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Venus on the Cover 5: A Pubic Wars Special - 1975 Part 2

July 1975

1975 saw bare breasts popping up on the cover of men's magazines in a way that hadn't been seen up until this point.  All the coy coverage tricks from the past seemed to have been discarded as covergirls thrust their busts at the camera like never before.  Gem's covergirl was certainly thrusting at the camera but, ironically, the big tit specialist magazine never did go on to fully expose nipples on its covers

July 1975

Fling was still sticking to the see-through top approach for their big busted covergirls, however.  No bold reveal here yet, just hidden promise.

July 1975

May, the covergirl fronting up Sir for July, demonstrated how they had moved on about 45 degrees from their January girl's nipple profile view, to this rather more assertive view.  Still only one, though.

July 1975

Caper magazine used to call itself "the home of the 'E' cup) but by July 1975 they were presenting an uncovered lady of rather more modest (but delightfully perky) proportions.

July 1975

Speaking of delight, the very short-lived Man's Delight also went for profile uncoverage in July, having still been rather coy earlier in the year.

July 1975

Here is Cavalier, taking a leaf out of Oui's book and going down the couples route, in a quite sensual breast nuzzling shot.  It was not an experiment that they repeated. however.  No doubt they were bombarded with the same complaints from readers that Oui had had.

July 1975

Speaking of Oui, they had this hilariously phallic shot for July.  Diane Petersen is photographed riding astride for the Fourth of July by Bill Arsenault.  I like her abbreviated astronauts costume.

July 1975

Stag also went in for some none too subtle phallic symbolism that month, with their covergirl pressing her groin against a nice thick piece of wood and wrapping her leg around it ecstatically.

July 1975

From Duke we had an 'is she or isn't she?' cover.  The lady's groin is in shadow but can we just see a fluffy edge there?  Just possibly.

August 1975

Having kept its covers modest, by keeping the nipples hidden and then only showing one in July, Sir! went full on tits out for August with this nice sunny location shot.

August 1975

Men also went for a girl by the sea, no doubt because of the summer month and offered their most revealing shot to date, as their last concealing veil was cast aside.

August 1975

Daring magazine wasn't really, on the bust front but below the belly button they were playing how low can you go?  Very low, was the answer.

August 1975

Covergirl and centrefold Laura looks engagingly slutty on the cover of Night and Day, cupping her breast and spreading her fishnet clad thighs.  It would be Night and Day's last year of publication, having first appeared in the mid sixties.

August 1975

By August Debonair had their covergirl Jill, one of no less than eight girl pictorials in the issue, exposing her bust fully.  A refreshing lack of busy text on this cover.

August 1975

Jaguar had got rid of their annoying anthropomorphic cat which had been a ropey copy of Playboy''s rabbit. They offered this sensual shot on the cover, with their lady''s hand slipping between her legs while caressing her breast.  Such implied masturbation shots would become more common on men's magazines over the next year or so..

August 1975

It had taken them some months, since the launch of Club in February 1975, but at last they had two nipples on the cover in this splendid shot.  Another one for the summer!

August 1975

Suze Randall's revealing shot of Playmate of the Month Lillian Muller was the first of a series of more up front bust shots from Playboy.  Taken together these covers would have an effect on the pressure advertisers brought to bear on Hugh Hefner to back off in his Pubic Wars with Penthouse.  Railing at the controls on explicitness at Playboy she would soon decamp for Hustler.

 August 1975

Mr's cover girl's wisp of pink chiffon and the yellow banner barely covered the dark shadow of her pubic hair, even if she was still hiding her nipples.

August 1975

Even more revealing was the cover of Stud, where their was no doubt that their model was showing a few pubic curls which were just not covered by shadow.

September 1975

Man's Delight was the next magazine to offer fully uncovered breasts, for their September issue.  The magazine would disappear shortly afterwards.

September 1975

Jaguar's September covergirl is showing her pubic hair through her lacy knickers as she flashes the camera.

 September 1975

It's a hand between the legs for Club in September.  Maybe she is just innocently resting her hand there and nothing more sexual is to be implied.  Or maybe not.

September 1977

Caper had a rather more assertive hand between the legs pose for their September cover.  I don't think her hand is just resting there, coincidentally.

October 1975

It was odd how the big bust specialist magazines like Gent and Ace were so nervous of showing nipples, when the other magazines all went for it on their covers.  Maybe they thought it might just be all too much of a good thing.   This is Ace's first nipple shot.

October 1975

Squire wasn't afraid of showing a big bust on its October cover, however, with this rather abundant young lady.

 October 1975

Playboy had another controversial cover photo with this picture by top photographer J Frederick Smith, trailing pictures inside from his new book Sappho:The Art of Loving Women.  This lesbian approach also sent Playboy's advertisers into a right tizz.

October 1975

Flick's covergirl's kneeling pose doesn't quite hide a small traingle of forbidden curls in this bold shot. 

 November 1975

By November 1975 most of the men's magazines in America had had completely bare breasts on their covers.  Best for Men was another magazine that had first appeared in the mid-sixties.  It would carry on until the end of the decade.

November 1975

Patricia Margot McLain's fingers are slipping inside her knickers as she watches, presumably, sex in the cinema.  This was the cover that broke the camel's back for Playboy's advertisers. Back off on the raunch or lose millions, Hefner was told.  He did as he was advised.

 December 1975

Club wasn't dialling back on the raunch on their covers, though, with this lady's fingers suggesting all sorts or auto-erotic fun.

December 1975

Genesis also went in for an aroused looking face for their last covergirl of the year.  It now wasn't enough to just have topless girls.  1976 would see an increase in these sorts of shots and I will look at them in the next post.