Sunday, November 9, 2014

Illustrations from Point de Lendemain by Leo Fontan (1884-1965)

We've just posted a number of elegant illustrations of women's be-stockinged legs by French illustrator Leo Fontan on our Venus Observations blog.  Coincidentally, he also produced a number of illustrations that fit with our current eighteenth century theme here on The Seduction of Venus. 

They are from  a 1935 limited edition of Point de Lendemain (no tomorrow) by Vivant Denon (1747-1825).  First published in 1777 it tells the story of the amorous adventures a young man in an initially, to him, baffling aristocratic society.  

Denon was originally a diplomat but fled Paris at the outset of the French Revolotions.  He returned, to ensure his property in Paris wasn't confiscated, and was soon back working under the new government.  He was appointed to accompany Napoleon to Egypt and produced his illustrated Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt in 1802.  

He then became director of the Louvre Museum and then travelled Europe, at the behest of Napoleon, acquiring art for it.  After Napoleon's defeat in 1815 the allies insisted that much of the art collected by Denon from conquered territories had to be returned to its rightful owners and he, unwillingly, oversaw the repatriation of over 5,000 works of art in the months after Waterloo. 

Fontan's watercolour illustrations for Point de Lendemain have the requisite powdered wigs and stockings of the period in question.  On the whole they feature figures and one piece of furniture with plain backgrounds.

One of the illustrations, however, has a fully rendered background, featuring a copulating couple admiring themselves in a mirrored wall, which is completely charming.

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