Folks with even just casual knowledge of twentieth century European art know George Grosz (1893-1959) as a brilliant and caustic political satirist.

grosz fatcat cartoon

(Found at The Reality-Based Community.) What has been less well known until very recently was that he was also a prolific eroticist, with inclinations toward the grotesque. This image which I found in Hans-Jürgen Döpp’s The Erotic Museum in Berlin seems to anticipate futanari.

grosz futanari

Döpp dates this watercolor to circa 1940, obviously too early in history for Grosz to have access to manga. The Wikipedia article on futanari suggests that within Japan itself there are artistic representations that anticipate futanari, and of course there are artistic representations of hermaphrodites in European art that go all the way back to Ovid’s recounting of the myth of Salmacis (and likely further). Grosz would almost certainly have known of the latter, and possibly of the former as well.

Though looking at this arresting image I am inclined to wonder whether Grosz came up with it through cultural transmission much at all. Maybe there are just certain ideas that inevitably boil up out of human consciousness, and this is one of them…

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