comic art by Gerda Wegener

Gerda Wegener was a Danish artist graphic designer, paintress and illustrator, known for her work in the erotic genre. Born in Denmark, but having French origins, she became a very popular artist in early 20th century Paris. She made artistic portrayals of fashion, but most notably erotic scenes, inspired by the Art Deco movement. During the interbellum, her illustrations appeared in several prominent French magazines, such as Vogue, La Vie Parisienne, Fantasio, Le Rire and La Baîonette. She also illustrated for books with the fables of La Fontaine.

comic from La Baionette, by Gerda Wegener

Together with her husband Einar Wegener (1886-1931), she was part of the Parisien artist scene, living a life with decadence, sex and fashion. Her husband was a known transsexual, and one of the first to undergo gender transformation surgery. He had his genital organs removed, ovaries transplanted into him, and attempts made to furnish him with an artificial vagina. By now, he went by the name of Lili Elbe. The Danish king invalidated the marriage between Gerda and Lili in 1930. Lili Elbe passed away from complications coming from her fifth operation in 1931. Gerda Wegener subsequently married an Italian air force officer, with whom she settled in Morocco for a couple of years. She divorced however, and returned to Denmark in 1938, where she died in poverty and loneliness in 1940.

L'Origine du Zeppelin, art by Gerda Wegener
L'Origine du Zeppelin (The Origin of the Zeppelin), 1915

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