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Lucian’s Dialogues of the Courtesans with 15 Illustrations by Gustav Klimt, 1907

Leopold Museum,
Print, paper, linen, gold embossing
37×29.8×2 cm


  • Josef Hoffmann

    (Pirnitz/Brtnice 1870–1956 Vienna)

  • Gustav Klimt

    (Baumgarten near Vienna/Vienna 1862–1918 Vienna)

  • Franz Blei

    (Vienna 1871–1942 Westbury)

  • Julius Zeitler

    (Kulmbach 1874–1943 Leipzig)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
Lucian’s Dialogues of the Courtesans tells stories from the lives of highly cultivated sex workers (so-called hetaerae) in ancient Greece. In a partly humorous manner, the book’s 15 dialogues treat topics such as homosexuality, jealousy and corporal punishment, but also the women’s everyday worries. The author Lucian of Samosata wrote the text around 160 AD. He is considered one of the most important satirists of Greek Antiquity. This luxury volume designed according to Jugendstil principles was released by the Leipzig-born publisher Julius Zeitler in 1907. The writer and editor Franz Blei (1871–1942) translated the original Greek text into German, while the painter and graphic artist Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) contributed 15 erotic drawings to illustrate the 15 dialogues. These were not created specifically for the publication, however. Klimt’s erotic graphic works, reproduced as collotype prints, show or hint at sexual acts such as masturbation or lesbian love. The cover was designed by Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956) of the Wiener Werkstätte. The total number of copies of the publication, which was released in several versions, amounted to 450, which illustrates the edition’s in every respect exclusive and extraordinary character.

Object data

  • Josef Hoffmann
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Franz Blei
  • Publisher: Julius Zeitler
Lucian’s Dialogues of the Courtesans with 15 Illustrations by Gustav Klimt
Art movement
Art Nouveau, Expressionism
Print, paper, linen, gold embossing
37×29.8×2 cm
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 6073
Inventory access
Accession 2017

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Wiener Privatbesitz (o.D.);
Auktion: 20.06.2017, im Kinsky Auktionshaus, Wien, Jugendstil & Design, Los Nr. 27
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 2017)

  1. Im Kinsky, Katalog zur Auktion: Jugendstil & Design vom 20.06.2017, Los Nr. 0027 (, 28.02.2022)
  2. Archiv des Leopold Museums, Rechnung Nr. 1180032 vom 21.06.2017

For provenance related information, please contact us.