- Bernard Montorgueil (c. 1920)
An early Master of the then rare example of men being enslaved by haughty women who, while not wrestlers, or giants or nasty women, but elegant women who rule absolutely. Here, virility succumbs to gentleness, and humiliation in a way rendered sensual through gracefulness rather than violence.. Bernard Montorgueil's work is the most refined representation of male masochism, if indeed it is not the only one to adopt such an approach.
Bernard Montorgueil is draped in discretion. His work first circulated underground in the 50s, as four series of drawings together with four texts, originally hand written. For this edition of "Les Quatre Jeudis suivi de Barbara" as for that of "Dressage suivi de Une Brune Piquante", the original plates have been specially retouched in color, in accordance with the long tradition of libertine illustration, by May.
This utterly demanding collection of thematic volumes approaches the great libertine illustrators "going back in time". These illustrations have the seduction of extincted things, the tender and obsolete charm of the beginning of the century.
Just as American illustrators were to perturb the world of comics, in a proliferating inversion like a cancer, vigorous and infinitely variable, so Bernard Montorgueil violates the rose water illustrations of romantic novels set in bourgeois apartments whose decor he faithfully reproduces.
Masochism is an actor's world. The characters of the drawings are also, thanks to the use of mirrors, spectators to their own figures and tableaux. through the magic of the drawing, characters with identical faces and costumes move simultaneously in different places which slice the text wide open like a torture machine.