The Doll

Artist: Hans Bellmer (German (born Poland), Katowice 1902–1975 Paris)

Date: 1934–35

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 29.5 x 19.4 cm (11 5/8 x 7 5/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.15

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Bellmer's obsession with dolls-his endless fabrication, reconstitution, and photographic presentation of them-was an effort to construct objects that would articulate his tortured desires in material form. The bizarre, robotic temptress in this negative print has an eerie electric aura. To love her, one would have to have, as the Surrealist poet Pierre Reverdy wrote, a "short circuit in the heart-system."