Hans Bellmer, German (1902 - 1975)

Hans Bellmer
Born: 1902, Upper Silesia, Germany
Died: 1975, Paris, France

Hans Bellmer was an established painter and graphic designer, best known for the life-sized pubescent female dolls he produced in the mid-1930s after the rise to power of the Nazi Party in 1933. He initiated his doll project to oppose the fascism of the Nazi Party by declaring that he would make no work that would support the German state. Represented by mutated forms and unconventional poses, his dolls were directed specifically at the cult of the perfect body then prominent in Germany. His work was declared 'degenerate' and he fled Germany to France. His work was welcomed in the Parisian art culture of the time because of the references to female beauty and the sexualization of the youthful form.

Bellmer's 1934 book Die Puppe (The Doll), produced and published privately in Germany, contains ten black-and-white photographs of Bellmer's first doll arranged in a series of tableaux vivants.

Bellmer also created erotic drawings and etchings. He is most commonly thought of as a surrealist photographer.

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