Paris’ most risqué museum, the Paris Museum of Eroticism, officially closed its doors for good Sunday. However, many of the most coveted sensual sculptures, paintings and pictures that were once housed in the museum found new homes after an auction sold off almost a half a million euros, or over $550,000 USD, worth of art, according to reports. More than 2,000 artworks that belonged to the museum were auctioned off by La Maison Cornette de Saint Cyr.
The museum, which was located down the street from Paris’ famous Moulin Rouge cabaret in Pigalle, was founded by Jo Khalifa and former porn star Alain Plumey 18 years ago. Many of the museum’s most notable pieces were collected from formerly legal brothels around France, which were forced to close after World War II. Some of the pieces also came from various countries throughout Asia, including an 18th-century marble plaque of Vishnu, a Hindi god, which was reportedly recovered from an Indian tantric temple.
The kinky museum housed many interesting and highly sexual artworks, including Alex Varenne’s "Les seins de Mona Lisa" (Mona Lisa’s Breasts), which auctioned for almost $15,000. Although Salvador Dali’s famous 1954 painting titled, "Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity," was initially expected to be sold for about $2,000 - $3,000, the artwork, which was once housed in the Playboy Mansion London house, sold for over $22,000.
Along with life-sized penis-sculptures by Alain Rose and South American objects representing the female genitalia, the museum also featured drawings by Charlie Hebdo’s Georges Wolinski, a renowned cartoonist who was killed during the terrorist attack on the newspaper’s office in January 2015.
Khalifa and Plumey blamed rising rent prices caused by gentrification of the neighborhood and decreasing tourism to the museum as the main reasons Paris Museum of Eroticism had to close. Paris has seen quite a drop in tourism in recent years – about 13 percent – which has caused the city to lose more than $7 million in tourism revenue since 2015, according to a BBC News report released in August.