1. Edouard Manet's Olympia (1863)

Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) Edouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)

Painted in 1863 by Edouard Manet, Olympia was exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1865 and caused quite the stir. The painting represents a prostitute seeming to come straight out of a harem and obviously preparing for her next client. In addition to her nudity, the model (Victorine Meurent) sits with a provocative gaze at the viewer.

That same year, Edouard Manet's  Le déjeuner sur l’herbe had caused controversy and was refused by the Salon's jury. The painting depicts a naked woman, again looking at the audience, and two fully dressed men.

2. The Origin of the World by Gustave Courbet (1866)

Gustave Courbet, The Origin of the World, 1866, oil on canvas, 46 × 55 cm (Orsay Museum, Paris)  Gustave Courbet, The Origin of the World, 1866, oil on canvas, 46 × 55 cm (Orsay Museum, Paris)

Created by Gustave Courbet in 1866, The Origin of the World represents the sexual anatomy and torso of a woman lying naked on a bed with her legs apart. The work is framed so that the female's genitals are at the center of the painting.

Courbet and Manet were rethinking how nudity was viewed in the 19th century, The Origin of the World, extremely controversial at the time, was the catalyst for so much artistic freedom.

3. Fountain of Marcel Duchamp (1917)

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain (Urinal), 1917/1964, White earthenware covered with ceramic glaze and paint, 63 x 48 x 35 cm © Marcel Duchamp / Adagp estate, Paris Marcel Duchamp, Fountain (Urinal), 1917/1964, White earthenware covered with ceramic glaze and paint, 63 x 48 x 35 cm © Marcel Duchamp / Adagp estate, Paris

Today, Fountain, is considered an icon of contemporary art, so needles to say that is was once of the most controversial works of art in history, as so many important pieces are. This simple urinal in white porcelain, signed R.Mutt, the pseudonym taken by the artist to ensure that the work would be judged for what it was - was met with much criticism.

By taking a manufactured object of everyday life, which, exposed in another frame, changes direction, Marcel Duchamp invented his ready-made oeuvre.

4. Seated Woman in Violet Stockings by Egon Schiele (1917)

Egon Schiele, Seated Woman in Violet Stockings (1917) Picture: courtesy of egon-schiele.com Egon Schiele, Seated Woman in Violet Stockings (1917) Image: courtesy of egon-schiele.com website Egon Schiele, Seated Woman in Violet Stockings (1917) Picture: courtesy of egon-schiele.com Egon Schiele, Seated Woman in Violet Stockings (1917)
Image: courtesy of egon-schiele.com website

The work of Egon Schiele occupies an essential place in the relations between art and eroticism. His nude models would often sit in explicit poses, as in Seated Woman in Violet Stockings (1917) where the model masturbates in front of the viewer.

Schiele's erotic drawings, coupled with allegations of misappropriations towards minors made against him, even led to a short arrest in 1912.

5. Hon de Niki de Saint Phalle (1966)

Niki de Saint Phalle, Hon, 1966 (Stockholm, Sweden, Moderna Museet) Niki of St. Phalle, Hon, 1966 (Stockholm, Sweden, Moderna Museet) Niki de Saint Phalle, Hon, 1966 (Stockholm, Sweden, Moderna Museet) Niki of St. Phalle, Hon, 1966 (Stockholm, Sweden, Moderna Museet)

Niki de Saint Phalle monumental 1966 work for Stockohlm's Moderna Museet was an incredible 28-meter-long woman, lying on her back with her thighs open, inviting visitors  to enter through the vagina. A woman cathedral, if you will.

Early in her career, Niki de Saint Phalle's works were guided by her reflections of the role of women within society. Her work is a life-size manifestation of her imaginary universe.

6. Man in Polyester Suit by Robert Mapplethorpe (1980)

Robert Mapplethorpe, Man in Polyester Suit (1980) Image: courtesy of Sotheby's Robert Mapplethorpe, Man in Polyester Suit (1980) Image: courtesy of Sotheby's Robert Mapplethorpe, Man in Polyester Suit (1980) Image: courtesy of Sotheby's Robert Mapplethorpe, Man in Polyester Suit (1980)
Image: courtesy of Sotheby's

Man in Polyester Suit (1980) is a photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe from 1980. It is part of the series "X Portfolio." The photograph depicts the lover of the artist, Milton Moore wearing a three-piece suit with his penis exposed. This work cemented the provocative reputation of the artist. In 2015, Mapplethorpe's photography sold for nearly half a million dollars at Sotheby's in New York.

The erotic nature of works from the middle of Mapplethorpe's career sparked controversies over the public funding of art in the United States, otherwise known as the "culture wars.''

7. The Nona Ora by Maurizio Cattelan (1999)

Maurizio Cattelan, "The Nona Ora" (New York, 1999-2000) View of the exhibition "Free!" in 2014 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Rennes (France) Maurizio Cattelan, La Nona Ora (New York, 1999-2000) Maurizio Cattelan, "The Nona Ora" (New York, 1999-2000) View of the exhibition "Free!" in 2014 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Rennes (France) Maurizio Cattelan, La Nona Ora (New York, 1999-2000)

The Nona Ora by Maurizio Cattelan is a hyperalistic representation of Pope John Paul II flattened by a meteorite. He is depicted with his eyes in a mark of suffering and acceptance.

The work refers to the ninth hour, a precise moment according to the Gospel of St. Mark where Jesus crucified uttered the famous phrase: "Father, Father, why did you abandon me?" A moment of profoundly human doubt that refers to the Humanism of John Paul II who would have borne the sin of the World.

8. Paul McCarthy's Tree (2014)

"Tree" (2014) by Paul McCarthy installed at Vendôme, Paris, October 15, 2014 Image by Bertrand Guay / AFP  "Tree" (2014) by Paul McCarthy installed at Vendôme, Paris, October 15, 2014 Image by Bertrand Guay / AFP

Tree is an inflatable sculpture almost 25 meters high by the American artist Paul McCarthy. Many members of the public were outraged as they believed the piece was a depiction of a giant sex toy. In 2014, the piece was installed at Place Vendôme in Paris during FIAC. It was deflated by unknown vandals. The artist, in the face of negative reactions, renounced that is was re-inflated.

9. Dirty Corner by Anish Kapoor (2015)

Anish Kapoor, Dirty Corner "exhibited in Versailles in 2015 Image: courtesy of Charles Platiau / Reuters Anish Kapoor, Dirty Corner" exhibited at Versailles in 2015 Image: courtesy of Charles Platiau / Reuters Anish Kapoor, Dirty Corner "exhibited in Versailles in 2015 Image: courtesy of Charles Platiau / Reuters Anish Kapoor, Dirty Corner" exhibited at Versailles in 2015
Image: courtesy of Charles Platiau / Reuters

Dirty Corner is a steel trunk by artist Anish Kapoor. The piece has glaringly obvious sexual connotations. In 2015, while exhibited at the Château de Versailles, the work was vandalized four times.

The work has often been described in the press as "Queen's Vagina", a phrase that Anish Kapoor claims to have never used. The work was nevertheless described by the artist as "very sexual.''

10. The Domestikator of L'Atelier van Lieshout (2017)

Joep Van Lieshout, Van Lieshout Workshop, Domestikator at the Pompidou Center in October 2017 Image: courtesy of Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt for Carpenters Workshop Gallery Joep Van Lieshout, Van Lieshout Workshop, Domestikator at the Center Pompidou in October 2017 Image courtesy of Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt for Carpenters Workshop Gallery Joep Van Lieshout, Van Lieshout Workshop, Domestikator at the Pompidou Center in October 2017 Image: courtesy of Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt for Carpenters Workshop Gallery Joep Van Lieshout, Van Lieshout Workshop, Domestikator at the Center Pompidou in October 2017
Image courtesy of Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt for Carpenters Workshop Gallery

As part of FIAC's "Beyond the Walls", Domestikator by Dutch artist Joep Van Lieshout was turned down by the Louvre before being accepted by Beaubourg.

This large sculpture, 12 meters high, was installed on the forecourt of the museum and is in the shape of a greyhound. According to the artist, it is "an allegory of the rape of nature by man". The SPA (Society for the Protection of Animals) denounced "an abject sculpture representing a zoophile act openly claimed by its author.''

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