Here are a couple more nice illustrations by Paul Emile Bécat (1885-1960). The picture above exudes la vie bohème as our floppy-haired and, yes, fully dressed, protaganist unveils his beautifully lit mademoiselle. Whether he is a starving artist or a starving poet (he looks more like the latter) in a garret he has, at least tempted (or paid for) someone to join in him bed.
This is a good illustration, too, of women's underwear at the beginning of the last century (and before) when ladies drawers were still open underneath. This must have made them a lot more entertaining to explore!
In the second picture the couple depicted have shed all their clothes so, obviously they are in a warm environment at least! Bécat has done a lovely job on the lady's posterior here and put it almost dead centre in the picture so that your eye goes straight there!
Bécat, although most famous for his erotic works, was a serious artist studying under Gabriel Ferrier and François Flameng. The latter later became famous for his controversially unheroic military paintings of the First World War and was a friend of Sargent and Gérôme. Bécat first exhibited at the Salon de Paris in 1913 and in 1920 won the Prix de Rome. The Prix de Rome was a prestigious award, first granted in 1663, which paid for the winner to study for three to five years at the French Academy in Rome, which from 1803 was located in the Villa Medici.
Young girl seated (goauche) (1934)
In 1932, he won a travel grant to French Equatorial Africa, visiting the Congo and Oubangui Chari. In 1934, he returned to Africa visiting Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Mauritania and produced a number of goauche or pastel paintings. Most of his erotic illustrations, usually done in drypoint, were done between 1936 and 1959. He is also well known for his portraits, especially of French writers.
In this rather haunting picture he combines his portraiture skills with his work featuring couples, to striking effect.
More Bécat another time.