Paris: Erotopolis (Maurice Duflou), 1925.
First edition thus. 37 + 12 pp., 8 x 10 inches (portfolio), 9.5 x 7.75 inches (prints). Five folded (octavo) text signatures, plus twelve pochoir prints, laid into portfolio of printed paper and cloth over boards, as issued. Prints in fine condition, with occasional tiny spots of foxing not affecting images. Text signatures uncut and in very good condition, with age toning and offsetting to first and last blank page. Portfolio lightly soiled, with mild bumps to corner and small tear to interior paper pastedown, still very good, with remnants of the original ribbon closures. Item #4158
Gerda Wegener (1886–1940) was a Danish illustrator and painter whose representations of women challenged norms of gender and sexuality. She married fellow artist Einar Wegener while still a student; after their relocation to Paris, Einar adopted the name and persona of Lili Erbe. Wegener often used Lili as a model. In 1930, Lili was one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery; she died of complications from the surgery the next year. The couple’s story became internationally known through the novel The Danish Girl (published in 2000, and translated into a dozen languages), and the 2015 film of the same name.
The twelve stunning pochoir prints (after the original watercolors) in this portfolio were originally issued alone in 1917; apparently neither that issue nor a 1921 issue sold well. In 1925 the publisher paired them with the Perceau sonnets. Each print bears Wegener’s trademark black harlequin mask in a corner of the image as a signature.