Hans Bellmer


Artist Bio

Hans Bellmer was born in Kattowitz in 1902. At his father’s insistence, he worked in a steel factory and a coal mine after finishing the examinations qualifying for university admittance. Nevertheless, Bellmer managed to do some art work and exhibit it in Poland in 1922/23. The work led to his arrest. While studying engineering at Berlin Polytechnic, Bellmer met John Heartfield, Rudolf Schlichter and George Grosz. In 1924 Bellmer dropped out of engineering, worked as a book printer and then as an illustrator for Malik Verlag. That winter Bellmer took his first trip to Paris. After his marriage in 1927, Hans Bellmer worked as a commercial artist, attended lectures at the Bauhaus in the early 1930s and travelled to Italy and Tunisia. He refused to continue working as a sign of resistance to Fascism in 1933. To show his repudiation of Fascism and the aesthetic it propagated, Bellmer began to construct girlish three-dimensional dolls, which he photographed in erotic poses. Some of these works were published by Bellmer at his own expense in 1934, others appeared in the Surrealist journal ‘Le Minotaure’, ensuring Bellmer important ranking among Paris Surrealists. (read more)

Hans Bellmer on MoMA

Hans Bellmer on Artnet

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