Gerda Gottlieb (1885-1940) rushed into the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen to tell her classmates that fellow student-artist, Einar Wegener (1884-1931), had asked her to marry him. Gerda, who was Danish-Swedish, was beautiful and blonde; Einar was dark-haired and delicately handsome. She was nineteen, he a year older.
They left for France to make their way in the Paris art world. The couple appeared passionately in love. One day on a whim, Einar picked up Gerda’s dress and put it on. She took out her sketch pad and drew Einar as an ambiguous woman. As time passed, Einar dressed more and more as a woman, and Gerda used him as a model.
The artistic work of both was well received, but Gerda was the more successful. By the mid-1920s she had become an important figure in the Paris art world as a portrait painter and and book illustrator.
Louis Perceau (1883-1942), a French poet and writer, still renowned for his erotic works, asked Gerda Wegener to illustrate his book of erotic poetry, Douze Sonnets Lascifs, which was published in 1925. She created twelve watercolors which were individually silk-screened to accompany the 350 copies of the book. The portfolio was inserted in the book. The model for the dark-haired ambiguous woman in the aquarelles was Einar.
Later, Einar underwent the world’s first successful sex-change operation. The King of Denmark annulled the marriage between Gerda and Einar, who took the name “Lili Elbe.” They lived together for a while but at Lili’s insistence Gerda married a mutual friend, an Italian officer.
Over the years most of the aquarelles were lost or bought by collectors. The portfolio was often removed from the original book of poetry—which was discarded.
We are offering for sale what is possibly the only remaining integral copy of the aquarelles and the book. The aquarelles are so vivid that they are believed to be the originals used in the silk-screening. They appear in THE TWO OF US: Forbidden Tales of the French Erotique, edited and translated by Zalin Grant.
A film is in the works about Gerda's story with major Hollywood stars. The movie is based on the international bestselling novel, The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff. Lasse Hallström, the Academy Award-nominated Swedish director, is the designated director.
1. Confidentiality Assured.
2. Currency – All major currencies accepted by Bank-to-Bank wire transfer. Exchange rates will be determined by Dollar versus Whatever-Currency on the date of the sale.
3. Location of Aquarelles – Secure Storage in Reston VA, outside Washington D.C. Examination of Aquarelles and Book can be arranged.
4. Pickup by buyer in Reston (Dulles Airport) or will ship by FedEX at buyer’s risk and insurance.