The Paris Museum of Eroticism, France’s only erotic museum, closed after 18 years on November 6. The closing-down auction of its entire collection, including a ‘forest of phalluses’, a picture of a topless Mona Lisa, South American objects based on female genitalia and drawings by a Charlie Hebdo attack victim, raised nearly Rs 3.5 crore, around three times the pre-sale estimate. The museum’s owners, Jo Khalifa and Alain Plumey, a former porn star, said it was closing over increasing rents and falling tourist numbers.
The collection comprised interesting artefacts and much of the 2,000-items were from Asia – including its oldest object, an 18th-century marble plaque of the Hindu god Vishnu from an Indian tantric temple. One of the highlights of the auction was a steel sculpture showing a woman having sex with a robot. It went for over €38,000 (Rs 28 lakh approx.). More than 500 potential buyers attended the auction, while a similar number bid via the Internet.
Other attractions included drawings and photographs from the late 19th-century ‘Belle Époque’ Paris and objects taken from France’s legal brothels, which were shut after World War II. Also, a painting by Salvador Dali, titled ‘Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity’ was auctioned off for €20,608.
The latest artwork in the collection were drawings by Georges Wolinski, one of the cartoonists killed during the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015. Wolinski, who was known for his saucy sense of humour, was a supporter of the museum.
Although this was the only sex-themed museum in France, there are other similar museums around the world in cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Reykjavik, Las Vegas and Moscow, among others.