Erotic: Passion & Desire at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s plays host to their first saucy auction – Erotic: Passion & Desire where the boundaries between the sensual and the obscene are gloriously blurred. It’s often said the difference between pornography and erotica is simply a matter of lighting: Forensic attention to sexual details or subtle evocation of mood?

“The erotic is a realm where desire and imagination meet. When you look at a great work of erotic art, you sense a world outside its obvious parameters: a complicit triangulation between the creator, the subject (perhaps more than one) who inspired such intimate expression, and the viewer turned voyeur. There’s a disruptive quality to the best erotica, which filters into your dreams and waking fantasies. It doesn’t just seduce its audience – it transports them without permission,” says Rowan Pelling, a Daily Telegraph columnist known for her eight-year editorship of The Erotic Review and her sex column for GQ, who has written the catalogue introduction for the Sotheby’s Erotic sale.

Across the centuries, art has always been intrinsically linked to expressions of passion and sensuality. The Erotic: Passion & Desire sale encompasses representations of love and sex from antiquity to the present day. Featuring over 100 extraordinary works comprising 19th-century furniture, design, fine art, photography and contemporary sculpture, the sale explores themes from the beauty of desire to representations of the male nude to the carnal act itself.

Speaking ahead of the auction, Constantine Frangos, Head of Sale, said: “Art has always existed to tell a human story, and sex has always been a part of that story – whether it is there to compel, to shock or to seduce. Indeed, Eroticism in art has appeared in whatever form art has taken, and our exhibition will take the viewer on a journey through the centuries.

“This sale creates a stage on which we are able to bring together a fascinating array of artworks and objects across many disciplines – charting a history whilst also presenting stunning works by artists as eclectic as Picasso, Man Ray, Ettore Sottsass and Marc Quinn.”

The exhibition is now open at Sotheby’s New Bond Street Galleries ahead of the auction on 16 February 2017. For more information, go to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: