Arlequins pensifs (Pensive Harlequins), 1954

Michel Siméon is one of the many talented illustrators active in the 1950s and 60s about whom we know almost nothing beyond the legacy of their work. We assume that he was based in Paris, as he regularly worked for mainstream Paris-based publishers including Gallimard and Le Livre de Poche, and his output included many well-known classics.

He is best known for his illustrations for the French editions of the children’s books of Roald Dahl, James et la grosse pêche (James and the Giant Peach) and Charlie et la chocolaterie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), but his output included covers for Arthur Conan Doyle, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, several of which are still in print using his artwork. Together with psychologist Robert Ariel, he also produced an illustrated guide to the work of Freud, L’aventure psychanalytique – une évocation en images de la vie et de l’oeuvre de Sigmund Freud (The Psychoanalytical Adventure – An Evocation in Pictures of the Life and Work of Sigmund Freud).

During a brief period in the early 1960s – and we can only guess at any personal interest in the subject – he contributed two sets of illustrations for erotic novels, both of which we have included here.

Monde futur (Future World), 1960


Example illustration