First Erotic Auction in 275 Year History
Sotheby’s, the reputable auction house known for selling off the wares of the rich and famous for nearly three hundred years, just held it’s first Erotic Art Sale. An elaborate table decorated with lavish penis and breasts motifs and crowned with golden curls of pubic hair was one of the stunning conversation pieces up for sale. The gold inlaid pornographic table has important historical origins, however, it was once given to Catherine the Great of Russia, whose fondness for erotic art was well-known.
The Queen herself would have loved indulging in this Sexy Sale
For the first time in its nearly 275-year-long existence, Sotheby’s is selling exclusively erotic art in it’s own sale. This means that items like this jaw-dropping penis table as well as royal jewels would have been auctioned off during the time of Catherine the Great herself, who lived 250 years ago in Russia, and indeed the original table may have found itself under the gavel at some point.
The auction of taboo art was scheduled two days before Valentine’s Day in London to maximize the sense of love and passion with the holiday most recognize as the one day a year that love rules. The auction will showcase works from artists like Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele, Camille Bombois and Ettore Sottsass.
The Sotheby’s auction featured Cubist nudes, decadent topless Renaissance scenes and large phallic sculptures along with gold-drenched nymphs and a ‘Girl Playing with her Pussy’ (cat). The collection was certainly the naughtiest lot to hit the auction block in the recent memory of art history.
Bidders Left Hot Under the Collar
Before this historic auction of passionate paintings, erotic sculptures, and sexually-charged drawings of genitalia, Sotheby’s estimated the lots would draw between $3 – $4.5 million British pounds sterling. However, buyers brought their passions to bear at the auction,and the first ever sexy sale brought in almost $5.3 million pounds.
That translates to $6,600,000 US dollars spent on dirty drawings and dick tables.
The sale even included a romantic bed intended just for lovemaking, where buyers can experience the throes of passionate coitus while being encouraged by a presiding love nymph.
“Featuring over 100 lots of fine art, photography, sculpture and design, the auction saw almost half of the works sold achieve prices above the high estimate.The sale was led by two sculptural masterpieces – Jacques Loysel’s La Grande Névrose and a rare surviving work by Sarah Bernhardt, both of which established auction records,” Sotheby’s recounted of the sale.
An Auction of Passion & Desire
Sotheby’s boldly defined it’s mission with the following, “Across the centuries, art has always been intrinsically linked to expressions of passion and sensuality. ‘Erotic: Passion & Desire’ will encompass representations of love and sex from antiquity to the present day, exploring themes from the beauty of desire to representations of the nude, to the carnal act itself, stripped of metaphor.”
Over 100 extraordinary works comprising 19th-century furniture, design, fine art, books, prints, photography and contemporary sculpture, were featured and sold in the auction. An opened at Sotheby’s New Bond Street Galleries a week ahead of the auction on February 16, 2017.
The venerable auction house did attach a titillating warning to potential bidders. “Please be advised that this sale includes images of nudity and images of a sexual nature which some viewers may consider indecent.”
Breathtaking Ophelia Fetched Nearly Half a Million Dollars
A stunning marble carving entitled ‘Ophelia’ won the day by selling for more than four times the high end it was estimated to. It was the last work by artist Sarah Bernhardt, and comes in the frame with a title plaque inscribed: OPHELIA / PAR / SARAH BERNHARDT. It is also signed by the artist, the inscription clearly visible in the lower corner.
The piece was estimated to sell between $75,000 and $110,000, however when the gavel fell the price was a staggering $484,830 – nearly half a million dollars!
What Do You Think?
Tell us your thoughts about this eye-popping erotic art, and whether or not you are surprised by Sotheby’s decision to feature the controversial and titillating items up for sale. Leave a comment below!