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Items corresponding to Post War & Modern Art - Hans Bellmer

Hans Bellmer (1902-1975) was a German artist, best known for the life-sized pubescent female dolls he produced in the mid-1930s. Historians of art and photography also consider him a Surrealist photographer. Up until 1926, he'd been working as a draftsman for his own advertising company. 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 new 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. In his works, Bellmer explicitly sexualized the doll as a young girl. He visited Paris in 1935 and made contacts there, such as Paul Éluard. Bellmer produced the first doll in Berlin in 1933. Bellmer's work was eventually declared "degenerate" by the Nazi Party, and he was forced to flee Germany to France in 1938. Bellmer's work was welcomed in the Parisian art culture of the time, especially the Surrealists around André Breton. His photographs were published in the Surrealist journal Minotaure, under the title "Poupée, variations sur le montage d'une mineure articulée" (The Doll, Variations on the Assemblage of an Articulated Minor). He was imprisoned in the Camp des Milles prison at Aix-en-Provence, a brickworks camp for German nationals, from September 1939 until the end of the Phoney War in May 1940. After the war, Bellmer lived the rest of his life in Paris. Bellmer gave up doll-making and spent the following decades creating erotic drawings, etchings, sexually explicit photographs, paintings, and prints of pubescent girls. Bellmer died 24 February 1975 of bladder cancer.