I always thought that most of Heinrich Kley’s nudes have an innocence about them, sort of like Freddie Moore girls. There might be a light sensual quality in some of his illustrations, but Kley stayed away from showing truly sexual content.
This image is very different.
The woman is drawn delicately with a pale skin tone. By contrast her lover -a centaur- is depicted with bold ink lines. This passionate embrace represents the only Kley sketch I would call erotic.
There are parts of the composition like the shapes of the trees that support symbolically the nature of the theme.
When I saw this piece for the first time, I was startled to see how far Kley went in drawing this intimate, amorous moment of fantasy.
Compare this illustration to to Kley’s “Centaur Family Portrait” from an earlier post: