Artist biography

Hans Bellmer 1902-1975

Draughtsman, painter, constructor of dolls, etcher, lithographer and writer, deeply involved with erotic fantasy. Born in Katowice, in Silesia. Obliged by his father to study engineering at the Berlin Polytechnic 1922-4, but became friendly with the painters Grosz and Dix. Abandoned his studies and began to work as typographer and book binder, then as industrial draughtsman in an advertising agency. Gave up all activity useful to the State after the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933 and began to construct 'artificial girls'; published Die Puppe 1934. Fled to Paris in 1938, in contact with the Surrealists. Drawings and paintings full of erotic variations on the female body, including illustrations for the poems of Georges Hugnet Oeillades ciselie en Branches 1939. Lived in the Midi 1942-6, where he had his first one-man exhibition at the Librairie Silvio Trentin, Toulouse, in 1944, then returned to Paris. Published Les Jeux de la Poupée 1949, L'Anatomie de l'Image 1957. Received a William and Noma Copley Foundation Award 1958. Major retrospective exhibition at the Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, 1971-2. Died in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.44-5