Maestro of the Black Humor Roger Testu and His Erotic Designs
14 juni 2021 

Maestro of the Black Humor Roger Testu and His Erotic Designs

Roger Testu/Tetsu (1913-2008) was a French painter and cartoonist who began his career in the 1950s. Besides his obvious talent and skill, the reason why we pay attention to this honored master of caricatures is that his works remind us of both Roland Topor and Georges Wolinski, whom we passionately love and to whom our previous articles were devoted. Although, the circle of amusing associations we cannot but mention here is far vaster.

Tetsu - Cardboard, Les cahiers du dessin d'amor

Fig. 1. Photograph published in “Tetsu – Cardboard, Les cahiers du dessin d’amor” Number 10, 1980 (magalerieaparis.wordpress.com)

The All-Round Man

Having attended the painting courses of Maurice Denis and Georges Desvallières in his youth, Tetsu started contributing to magazines only in his forties. Before this, he had worked as the director of a soap factory, a fine arts dealer, and a kitchen designer. In 1953, his schoolmate working in a newspaper helped him get an overnight job as a cartoonist. Since that time, he had worked with popular press such as France Dimanche, Ici Paris, Jours de France, Le Figaro Magazine, Lui, VSD, and also with Hara-Kiri, which covers we reviewed in one of our two-part articles. Following his bent, Tetsu was honored with numerous awards, including the Grand Prix de l’humor noir. As Topor wrote in his poem devoted to Tetsu, “Glory to you / O Tetsu / Whose face remains nice even when it is black / Ah your ink certainly makes the cuttlefish pale/ Dry of despair /Recognizing his squid on your blotter.”

The cover of “La Vie Est Belle”

Fig. 2. The cover of “La Vie Est Belle” (magalerieaparis.wordpress.com)

La Vie Est Belle

The first book of Tetsu entitled The Life Is Beautiful depicted the life of a bourgeois couple. In one of his interviews, the artist said the following: “When I am in front of my blank page, I am in my little world of bourgeois satisfied with themselves, full of resentment all the same against society. They are very happy, they have their little car; they have their fridge (…) the actor swallows his character, he is inhabited by him, I am inhabited by my characters, when I draw them, I draw them from within” (magalerieaparis.wordpress.com). The same world of little content people can be observed in cartoon-like drawings and sculptures of the Croatian artist Vasko Lipovac (check out our articles on his works if you haven’t done this yet!). However, bourgeois people from the erotic designs of Tetsu show themselves as far more sophisticated and liberated in terms of earthly pleasures than the “buttoned-up” characters of Lipovac with their casual sex in missionary pose.

Dessins des que et des Q

Fig. 3. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

Dessins des que et des Q roger tetsu

Fig. 4. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger testu

Fig. 5. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger tetsu erotic

Fig. 6. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger tetsu erotic art

Fig. 7. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger testu Dessins des que et des Q

Fig. 8. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger testu art Dessins des que et des Q

Fig. 9. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger testu erotic art Dessins des que et des Q

Fig. 10. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

The Spirit of Shunga

The bizarre imagination of Tetsu makes his sets similar to works of Topor and even more to shunga pictures of Shozan, Hokusai, or a member of Utagawa school. The portfolios Dessins des que et des Q published in 1960 in a limited edition of 275 copies and Les belles manières released twenty years later contain motifs familiar to any shunga lover. Tetsu’s ladies and gentlemen use various devices to please themselves. Here we can see genitalia-dolls comparable to Sambaso Dancer by Hokusai and long-nosed masks reminding of Tengu, whose nose often serves as a dildo in the spring pictures. The common ground for shunga, Dessins, and Les belles manières is that characters enjoy their sexuality and live in a sensual utopia. There are no taboos or restraining barriers, only bizarre BDSM games with improvised tools. Tomi Ungerer’s Fornicon is a distant futuristic relative, a final stage of this little happy world with its’ cozy apartments and inexhaustible sexual fantasy of the inhabitants.

roger testun erotic artist

Fig. 11. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger tetsu French artist

Fig. 12. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

tetsu erotic art

Fig. 13. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

roger tetsu cartoonist

Fig. 14. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

testu cartoonist

Fig. 15. Dessins des que et des Q (honesterotica.com)

Les belles manières tetsu

Fig. 16. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Les belles manières roger tetsu

Fig. 17. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Les belles manières roger tetsu art

Fig. 18. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Les belles manières roger tetsu artist

Fig. 19. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Lesbian scene involving a mask. Les belles manières

Fig. 20. Lesbian scene involving a mask. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

A woman pleasing herself with a Tengu mask, Utagawa school.

Fig. 20b. A woman pleasing herself with a Tengu mask, Utagawa school.

Les belles manières erotic art

Fig. 21. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

testu Les belles manières erotic art

Fig. 22. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

erotic cartoon roger testu

Fig. 23. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

erotic cartoon fellatio

Fig. 24. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

French cartoonist Roger Testu

Fig. 25. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

cartoon monkey erotic

Fig. 26. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

cartoon monkey fellatio

Fig. 27. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

cartoon monkeycartoon breasts in the water roger tetsu fellatio roger tetsu

Fig. 28. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

cartoon fellatio roger testu

Fig. 29. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

cartoon roger testu

Fig. 30. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

erotic saddle tomi ungerer

Fig. 30b. Illustration by Tomi Ungerer (sexispure.com)

funny erotic cartoon roger testu

Fig. 31. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

juggling phallus erotic cartoon tetsu

Fig. 32. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Tetsu erotic cartoon

Fig. 33. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Sambaso Dancer Hokusai

Fig. 33b. ‘Sambaso Dancer’(c.1810s) from the series ‘Brocades of the East (Azuma nishiki)‘ by Katsushika Hokusai

Testu cartoon fellatio

Fig. 34. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

erotic cartoon testu

Fig. 35. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Roger Testu Tetsu

Fig. 36. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

funny erotic cartoon tetsu

Fig. 37. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

erotic cartoon funny tetsu

Fig. 38. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

erotic cartoon funny tetsu art

Fig. 39. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

French cartoonist Roger Testu Tetsu

Fig. 40. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

roger testu cartoonist

Fig. 41. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Les belles manières erotic cartoon

Fig. 42. Les belles manières (honesterotica.com)

Click HERE for the sharp cartoons on sex, politics, and society of Georges Wolinski….!!

Most of the above images came from Honesterotica.com…!!

Sources: Wikipedia.org; honesterotica.com, magalerieaparis.wordpress.com

What do you think about the cartoons of Roger Testu? Leave your reaction in the comment in the box below…!!

About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
JB
By

JB

on 14 June 2021

Tetsu's sense or humor and ridicule, often with a pinch of sarcasm never fails to make me laugh. The fact that his drawings and his "sexhumor" included, or focused mostly on middle aged burgeois characters deserved a thumbs up (pun intended!) A couple of artists that deserve inclusion in the Shunga Gallery are Charles Bragg, with his little guys and galls playing phallic games, and then some (do a search for his series on "Creation" and the print "In the Beginning There Were Mistakes," and then, check Ervin L. Kaplan with his series Phallusies, for Playboy magazine in the 1970s; if you think that a penis is a penis, is a penis, Kaplan will change your mind, and show you how different they are, "richdiculous" and laughably unique!

Darya
By

Darya

on 14 June 2021

Thank you for your comment and recommendations as always! We'll check them out for sure.

Otto
By

Otto

on 16 June 2021

YES to more funny and humoristic erotic art! Testu is good!

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 16 June 2021

Thanks Otto!

Alexandre Rodrigues
By

Alexandre Rodrigues

on 16 June 2021

Very good artist, Darya. Some images, due to their humorous and transgressive nature, reminded me of episodes from South Park, more specifically those that make jokes about penis.

Darya
By

Darya

on 17 June 2021

Thank you! Jokes about the penis never get old.

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