Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 39

Satirical Map of Frankfurt as a Naked Woman from the Private Collection of French Poet Guillaume Apollinaire

"Die Strassen von Frankfurt a/ Main", Anon.

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany, Frankfurt, Germany

Period: 1870 (circa)


Color: Black & White

5.3 x 7.8 inches
13.5 x 19.8 cm
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This satirical engraving depicts the city of Frankfurt on the form of a naked woman, who of course wears fancy boots, gloves and a hat. Her various features are labeled with the names of streets or important sites in Frankfurt that match in a colloquial and often vulgar way. Her mouth is the Kaffegasse (where one drinks coffee), her breasts are Bergweg, Bergerstrasse, and Milchkur (signifying mountains and "milk diet"), her stomach is the Central Bahnhof (central train station), her buttocks are Stinkthurm and Musikantenweg (a stink tower and musical), and her vagina is called schöne Aussicht and Paradiesgasse (lovely view and paradise) among other things.

Provenance: this example belonged to French poet and playwright Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1919), whose distinctive ex libris stamp, showing a snake wrapped around an arrow with a rose in its mouth on a shield bearing the initials "G A," appears on verso. Apollinaire was one of the key French poets of the early 20th century, known for the radical style of his collections Alcools (1913) and Calligrammes (1918). As a resident of bohemian Montmarte, he was friend and collaborator to many of the artists in the Paris scene, including Gertrude Stein, Andre Breton, Erik Satie, and Pablo Picasso, who painted his portrait in 1916. He is credited with coining the terms "Cubism" and "Surrealism." After securing French citizenship, Apollinaire enlisted to fight in World War I in December 1914, serving until he was wounded in the trenches in March 1916. He died in Paris of the Spanish influenza on 9 November 1918, just two days before the Armistice. He likely acquired this map prior to the war, during one of his walking tours of Germany.

This map is extremely rare, as we have not seen any other examples in institutions or offered for sale in the last 30 years.


Condition: B+

Minor toning with light soiling, a couple of extraneous creases, and some show-through of a previous owner's ink stamp on verso.

Estimate: $475 - $600

Sold for: $375

Closed on 6/9/2021