(21 May 1843 – 1928)
was a French painter and commercial artist. Under the pseudonym Paul
Avril, he was an illustrator of erotic literature.
Born in Algiers, Avril studied art in various
Paris salons. From 1874 to 1878 he was at the École des Beaux Arts
in Paris. Having been commissioned to illustrate Théophile Gautier's
novel Fortunio, he adopted the pseudonym Paul Avril. His reputation
was soon established and he received many commissions to illustrate
both major authors and the so-called "galante literature" of the
day, a form of erotica. These books were typically sold in small
editions on a subscription basis, organised by collectors.
Avril illustrated such works as Gustave Flaubert's
Salammbô, Gautier's Le Roi Caundale, John Cleland's Fanny Hill, Jean
Baptiste Louvet de Couvray's Adventures of the Chevalier de Faublas,
Mario Uchard's Mon Oncle Barbassou (scenes in a harem), Jules
Michelet's The Madam, Hector France's Musk, Hashish and Blood, the
writings of Pietro Aretino, and the anonymous lesbian novel Gamiani.
His major work was designs for De Figuris Veneris: A Manual of
Classical Erotica by the German scholar Friedrich Karl Forberg.
Avril died at Le Raincy in 1928.