Altered Postcards from the Belle Époque Featuring French Nudes and Comical Monsters

Turning penny postcards of erotic nudes into surrealist fantasies, artist and poet George Hugnet painted a magical series of strange creatures caressing sensual, young women more than 60 years ago that continues to astonish us today. The lecherous beasts that make up The Love Life of the Spumifiers wrap themselves around passive lovers like sci-fi film characters about to suck the life out of unsuspecting souls. In actuality, the spumifers are more gentle and cartoon-like than menacing.

Hugnet — who collaborated with Picasso, Duchamp, Miró, Gertrude Stein and other icons of the era throughout his career — painted some 40 of these trippy images in 1947-48 and added poetic descriptions of each bizarre being’s lovemaking skills in the 1960s. Hidden from view for decades, New York’s Ubu Gallery recently showed the wildly wacky works and simultaneously published a brochure of the titillating texts. Ludicrously titled — with such species names as The Frosted Quaggle, The Pond Archgoolie, and The Lecherous Yackle — these crazy critters seem set to inspire a new generation of artists, writers, and animators — both on paper and on the silver screen. Click through the humorous images below to view a selection of our favorite beasts.

Georges Hugnet, La Grouille Domestique [“The Domestic Groddle”], No. 20 from the series La Vie Amoureuse des Spumifères [“The Love Life of the Spumifers”], 1947-48, Gouache on vintage (ca. 1920) post card, 5 1/2 x 3 3/8 inches (14 x 8.6 cm), Courtesy Ubu Gallery, New York & Galerie Berinson, Berlin, © ADAGP & Myrtille Hugnet, Photo: Joelle Jensen