Aug 13, 2020 - Sale 2544

Sale 2544 - Lot 45

Price Realized: $ 26,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 8,000 - $ 12,000


Erotic Illustration from Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti.
Pen and ink on cream wove paper. 208x156 mm; 8 1/8x6 1/4 inches. Initialed and dated in pen and ink, lower right recto, signed in pencil, lower right recto. 1932.

This illustration appeared in Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti, published in 1932 in an edition of only 200 by Jindrich Štyrský, Prague.

Toyen and Štyrský met in 1922 and were both members of the Devetsil, a group of Czech avant-garde artists. The two creatives were companions and collaborators; Toyen illustrating for Štyrský's Edice 69, his multi-volume set of erotic literature, and his Erotická Revue, a subscription journal. While living in Paris in 1927 both would create a new style of art, "Artificialism" which sought to fuse poetry and art to evoke real emotions, bringing subconscious fixations, dreams, desires, and memories to the forefront.

Upon returning to Prague in 1928, Štyrský and Toyen continued to live together and alternatively hosted and visited André Breton among other proponents of the Paris Surrealist movement during the mid-1930s. Signing their Parisian counterparts' manifesto, Štyrský and Toyen founded the Surrealist chapter in Prague. Though the group ran parallel with the French, the Prague Surrealists developed their own identity characterized by phantasmagorical forms.

During World War II and the occupation of Prague, Toyen was one of the few who secretly produced "degenerate" avant-garde works. After Štyrský's death in 1942 and the end of the war, Toyen relocated to Paris and continued to exhibit art with the Surrealists, becoming a major figure in the movement.

Exhibited: 'Feminine-Masculine: The Sex of Art,' Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, October 1995-January 1996.

Provenance: Ubu Gallery, New York; acquired from the former 1995, private collection.